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These SCNG columnists are cancer stars. Here’s how to hear their stories

The Long Beach Cancer League, a nearly 50-year-old nonprofit that raises money for cancer research, will host its annual Reach for the Stars Gala on Saturday evening, June 3, at the Museum of Latin American Art.

And during the fundraising event, the organization will honor eight “stars.”

Among them are two SCNG columnists and former editors: Rich Archbold, the Press-Telegram’s former executive editor and current public editor, who is now cancer free about 18 months after being diagnosed with melanoma; and Harry Saltzgaver, the former longtime editor of the Grunion Gazettes, who was at his father’s hospital bedside when he died from lung cancer in 2009.

Rich’s column: “My roller-coaster cancer journey has a happy ending.” 

Harry’s column: “I was with my Dad when he died from lung cancer. Here’s the story.”

For much of its existence, the Long Beach Cancer League raised money — more than $11 million — for the American Cancer Society. But earlier this year, the nonprofit announced the money it raises will now be reserved for geriatric and youth cancer treatment programs at MemorialCare’s Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital.

The nonprofit’s marquee fundraiser is its annual gala, at which a select group of cancer stars share their stories of how cancer touched their lives. This year, that includes Archbold and Saltzgaver.

But before they tell an audience of benefactors and philanthropists their stories, our two stars are sharing them with readers — in a pair of columns.

You can read Archbold’s column about his cancer journey here. You can read Saltzgaver’s poignant tale of losing his father here.

For more information on the Long Beach Cancer League, go to

2023 Cancer Stars

Fay Abed: Abed’s mother died from stomach cancer in 2006, and her elder sister died from colon cancer in 2017, at 60 years old. Abed has been a member of the Long Beach Cancer League since 2015.

Rich Archbold: Rich Archbold, the Press-Telegram’s former executive editor and current public editor and columnist, was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma in January 2022. He documented his diagnosis and subsequent journey in a series of Sunday columns.

Michael Barr: Barr, a Torrance native, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 6 years old. His parents were told Barr had a slim chance of survival, but he received treatment at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital — and ultimately beat the odds.

Dr. Cindy Gotz: Gotz is a senior program specialist at Long Beach Medical Center’s Todd Cancer Institute and an adjust professor at Cal State Long Beach. Multiple family members have been diagnosed with cancer. Gotz was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 20 years ago, when she was 42.

Dr. John S. Link: Link, a San Diego native, graduated from USC’s Keck School of Medicine, and completed an internship and residency there. He also completed residency at Long Beach Medical Center and a fellowship in medical oncology at USC.

Harry Saltzgaver: Saltzgaver recently left the role of executive editor of the Grunion Gazettes after three decades at the helm of the community weekly, but he continues to write his “Pinch of Salt” column for the Grunion, which also appears in the Press-Telegram. He lost his father to cancer in 2009. A day after father and son learned of the cancer diagnosis, the elder Saltzgaver died.

Susan Shannon: Shannon’s career helping those with cancer began as a nursing student in Washington, D.C., during which time she cared for pediatric patients. She was also a member of the first-ever bone marrow transplant team, and has a master’s degree in nursing and a pediatric nurse practitioner’s certificate. After moving to Southern California in 1997, she became the coordinator of the Childhood Cancer Survivorship program at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Mariusz Wirga: Wirga is the medical director of psychosocial oncology at the Todd Cancer Institute and is the chair of the psychiatry department at Long Beach Medical Center.

Source: Orange County Register

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