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New York couple using pumpkins to help other families after cancer fight

Posted at 2:25 PM, Sep 30, 2020

WEST SENECA, N.Y. —From the running water to the statues and perfectly trimmed plants, Pam and Dave Hubert's backyard in West Seneca, New York, is a place the couple can sit back and relax.

But last fall was anything but relaxing for the family.

"I had a lump in the right side of my throat that I've had many times from having sinus infections," explained Dave. "I went to the doctor and he said something's not right this time."

"His words were: you have cancer," Dave said. "You're going to go through hell, but you're going to survive."

Dave was diagnosed with throat cancer at the end of August. He had 35 radiation treatments and two rounds of chemo. After months of grueling recovery, he was cancer-free, and could finally sleep and eat again.

Pam was by his side throughout it all.

"We said there's got to be other purpose here than us being sick," Dave said. "I didn't get sick to get sick. I got sick cause someone else needs us to help them get through this."

As fall approached this year, Dave had one question for his wife.

"He said to me, 'do you plan on decorating the yard for the fall?'" Pam recalled. "And I said 'yeah I usually do.' And he said, 'I was hoping you would say that, because last year I just couldn't, I was too tired, too weak I just didn't enjoy it the way I wanted to enjoy it.'"

"I tried to be out here doing some work," Dave said. "But I was just so tired. I was just so exhausted from the treatment."

Pam decided this year needed to be different, so she put out a call on Facebook to people she knew, and to strangers.

"If there's somebody you know battling cancer or survived cancer, or may have lost a battle to cancer, I would like to honor them," Pam said. "And if you have a pumpkin I'm happy to put it in my yard and we'll display it."

That's when the pumpkins started showing up. They have names of patients who have fought cancer, and also messages to those who were lost to the disease.

Dear grandma and grandpa. I miss you like crazy. And wish each day you could still be with us.
Grandpa thinking of you every day, I know you're watching over us.
Mom and Dad, I miss you both every day so much. I know you both keep an eye on us from heaven.

The pumpkins sit under a Roswell sign in the couple's backyard, each representing a person who took on cancer, and the commitment this couple has now made to anyone fighting that fight.

"People are fighting alone and they shouldn't be," Dave said. "So we welcome people to come here, call us, we'll come visit, sit with you. People shouldn't fight alone when they do this."

Dave and Pam have also now started a fundraiser, which you can find here.

All the money raised through entry sales into the fundraiser will go to the Angel Fund and to cancer research at Roswell Park.

Friends and family members have donated prizes, and they're picking a winner Friday, October 16.

This story was originally published by Katie Morse at WKBW.