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Area Residents Share Hope and Healing Through Care New England Storytelling Campaign

(Providence, RI) –Stories of hope and healing from three local women will be highlighted in the coming weeks as part of a Care New England Health System storytelling campaign that will be told through both traditional advertising and social media.

At a time of year where many are reflecting on an attitude of thanksgiving and appreciation, the women, Gardenia Pena, of Cranston; and Vivian Nano, of Providence, have graciously and candidly shared their stories. They range from cancer and high-risk pregnancy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression, and how with the support of CNE' Women & Infants Hospital, The Providence Center, and Butler Hospital, they are living healthy, productive, and rich lives.

Cranston resident Gardenia Pena, a mother of four, was three months pregnant when she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. “In a moment, our joy turned to fear. I was so scared for not just myself, but for our baby,” said Gardenia. Being pregnant with cancer adds an extra level of complication and risk to treatment, but the doctors at Women & Infants Hospital gave her hope. “They told me, ‘you are not alone, and we will get through this together,’” Gardenia said.

On October 23, Gardenia gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She is now ready to start the next round of chemotherapy at Women & Infants, where she knows she is in the best hands. “Women & Infants was my lifeline to healing, coping, and hope,” she added.

Vivian Nano of Providence also has a lot to be grateful for. In 2004, a bomb exploded outside of Vivian’s home in Baghdad, Iraq, killing her husband and his entire family. Buried alive for days beneath the rubble, Vivian’s face was shattered, and she had numerous broken bones, while she laid motionless, losing hope. Vivian’s injuries required her to undergo 12 surgeries in various countries including Iraq, Jordan, and the United States.

Eleven years ago, suffering from depression and PTSD, Vivian moved halfway across the world to Providence, RI, as a refugee. It was the first time, she said, she felt an inkling of hope, after working with the staff at The Providence Center, who helped her with her PTSD, her overall health and well-being, as well as her education.

“It has been a long journey, but the staff I worked with at The Providence Center was always there for me. They got me through one of the toughest times in my life,” said Vivian, now proud to have a new job, new friends, and loves her Rhode Island community and home.

Said James E. Fanale, MD, president and CEO, CNE, “I would like to express my appreciation to these women for their words of hope and healing. It is my most sincere hope that these patient stories can provide comfort and encouragement for many throughout this holiday season and in the new year to come. Whether there is someone who is in need of complex care or improved access to an array of services, CNE stands ready to help our community.”

Should you need assistance, CNE can help with recommending providers and making appointments, by calling the Care New England Referral Line at (401) 736-4257.