Determined Grateful Patient Beats Cancer and Gives Back

Determined Grateful Patient Beats Cancer and Gives Back

Charles “Bert” Sadtler was an All American attackman for the 1949 University of Virginia men’s Lacrosse Team. He knows something about toughness and teamwork. When he was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2009 Sadtler knew he would have to apply the skills that made him great on the playing field to his determination to be a cancer survivor.

The toughness part he had covered. Sadtler exercises daily at the Merritt Athletic Club and played competitive tennis until 1977. It was the team he had to work on. Sadtler found his squad at UM-St. Joseph Cancer Institute. Rima Couzi, medical oncologist at the Cancer Institute would be his captain or as he came to think of her, “my angel.” Sadtler explains why: “When I was diagnosed there was talk of a very radical surgery that could impact my quality of life. When I said ‘no’ to that, Dr. Couzi was supportive of my decision and promised to work with me through chemotherapy and radiation. Well, we killed the cancer without surgery and here I am today. The whole team who took care of me was just terrific.”

Bert Sadtler has been a frequent and generous donor to UM-St. Joseph since 2009. But he gives in another way as well: Sadtler serves on the Family and Patient Advisory Committee. The group is tasked with ideas to improve on the patient experience at UM-St. Joseph. “The beauty of our group,” Sadtler says, “is that we look at things solely from the patient’s side of the bed. None of us are employed by the hospital so we bring a fresh eye to what folks need.”

Fifty plus years in the investment banking business as a stock broker and four years on the college lacrosse field, taught Sadtler that it is the people backing you up that make the difference between success and failure. “I was lucky. Sixty years later I got the chance to be on another ‘All American’ Team at St. Joe’s.”

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