AFT conference saves a life

Janis Bianco (right) at last year's SRP conference.

Janis Bianco (right) at last year's SRP conference.

Janis Bianco comes to every SRP conference. Here’s she is with Karen Sheely, both of the Rondout Valley School Related Professionals, last year. Who is that grey hair on the right?

I did an article about Janis’ fight against ovarian cancer in the 1990s. Another case of the union helping people. In this case, saving a life.

“I went to a cancer awareness workshop, more to bring information back to my members, than for myself,” said the president of the secretarial chapter of the Rondout Valley Federation of Teachers. “The speaker was stressing how, if you don’t feel well but the doctor’s don’t find anything, that you’ve got to get a second opinion.”

Bianco vowed she would seek another round of tests when she got back to her home in Ulster County.

Within days of her return, she underwent a scan that revealed she was in the third stage of ovarian cancer, a silent killer because it has so few symptoms.

Within days, she was at Sloan-Kettering Memorial Hospital for consultations. “All I could think was I can’t die. I have a 10-year-old. I was only 40,” she said.

Just over a week after the AFT workshop, Bianco was on the operating table for a hysterectomy and exploratory surgery to see how far the cancer had spread.

You can read the complete article online at

New York Teacher circa 1996

New York Teacher, May 1996

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  1. Kim McEvoy October 6, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    Janis is an inspiration to all of us!

  2. Sheryl Delano October 6, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    Janis is the type of union leader that works tirelessly to represent her members with dignity and compassion. Her dedication and hard work are greatly appreciated.

    Thank you Janis for all you do!

    • Betsy Sandberg October 8, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

      Kim and Sheryl,
      Thanks for sharing your appreciation. Janis is one special lady.

  3. Cynthia Craig October 15, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    Janis is a great role model for all of us! Her kindness and caring are endless!

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