LOCKPORT, N.Y. — "This was something that God was calling me to walk through."
That’s how Anna Wasson describes the journey that she and her husband never expected to take.
"I was literally stunned. It was like, you know, they talk about shellshock. And that's kind of how I felt," said her husband Tim Wasson.
Doctors at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center had just told them that Anna has lung cancer.
She wasn't feeling well last spring with what she thought was about seasonal allergies and a cough that would come and go. But after working a couple of 12-hour nursing shifts in July at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, she knew something was up.
"And after that second shift that I worked, I woke up the next day and I just overall, just felt awful,” she said. “I felt very, very sick and just like, something was wrong," she added.
An x-ray and a cat scan showed a mass on Anna’s lung. A week later they learned it was stage four. Anna has never smoked and has no other risk factors.
"The first thought that comes into your head is...?” asked Reporter Maryalice Demler.
"That they have the wrong person! You know, like, this is a mistake, " Anna explained.
"And it was just, OK, this is somehow our lives now. This is completely surreal. And then you move on to, ‘what are we going to do? How are we going to tell the kids and all that?’” Tim remembered.
The Wassons have been married for 17 years. They met as teenagers through their church youth group. Today, they have four beautiful kids: Cooper, Alayna, Callie, and little Levi. When it comes to their mom's illness, Tim told them their strength would be their faith.
"I said, you know you guys have been going to church with mom and dad all this time. Now, this is time for you to take the faith and make it your own, trusting in God through this whole thing. It's the only way we're going to make it through this," he explained.
"God's got her, and He's going to get her through this,” said Anna’s co-worker Sarah Colan, RN.
The nurses working at Millard suburban know Anna was on well.
Kerry Caldwell, RN agreed. "She's the kindest, most genuine person you could ever meet. Selfless and just the most compassionate nurse," she said.
"She's just the best. She's the sweetest thing ever," Cindy McConnaghy, RN added.
Caring for people in need is second nature for these healthcare heroes, so they organized a basket raffle as a way to show their support for a colleague and friend they truly love.
"We have to take care of patients and then we have to take care of each other," Caldwell said.
McConnaghy added, "If you asked her, she would say, don't do anything for me.”
"They are really handing it over to God," explained Colan.
"Unfortunately, that this is my path. And I don't understand it completely, but i also trust Him completely. And He's showing me so many beautiful things that have given me peace and have given me strength," Anna said.
One of those “beautiful things” started with a Scripture passage that Anna’s sister shared, right after her diagnosis. It's the Apostle Peter, trying to walk on water, and Jesus telling him he can do it if he ignores the turbulent seas and instead keeps his eyes fixed on him.
"And that night, my little four-year-old has his little children's Bible by his bed. And he said, 'Mom, I love this story.' And he showed me the picture and it was Peter walking on the water! said Anna.
“He said, 'See, Jesus said, Look at me, and you'll walk on water!" She remembers Levi saying.
"That was a gift to me. To be able to just say that, you know, confirmation that that's what He's saying," said Anna.
"Look up here, look at me, because you can't do it alone. But I will help you."
To donate to the raffle please call Kerry Caldwell at 716-568-6267.
To offer words of encouragement click here.