Lymphoma Program Patient Celebrates 100th Birthday

Silvia Brodsky is a self-proclaimed feisty woman from New York City whose hobbies include reading, listening to classical music, cooking and baking (She swears her dishes never taste the same twice!), and staying in touch with her four sons in Kentucky, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The not-so-typical? Silvia just turned 100 years old – and lives independently in Brooklyn with her 88-year-old sister.

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Silvia Brodsky (Center) celebrated her 100th birthday with Melanie Bernstein, PA, (Left) and Sarah Rutherford, MD, (Right).

In the fall of 2017, a biopsy of a swollen mass in Silvia’s neck led to a diagnosis of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), a fast-growing cancer of abnormal B-cells. After feeling passed around by other institutions, Silvia and her family were thoroughly impressed by the efficiency and compassion of the Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital staff – particularly that of her physician, the Lymphoma Program’s Dr. Sarah Rutherford.

“Dr. Rutherford is an angel with hidden wings,” says Silvia. “All she has to do is walk in and smile, and I feel better.”

That’s high praise coming from Silvia, who places ultimate value on helping others. She considers herself lucky to have known her grandmother and great grandmother, her lifelong inspirations, whom she credits with teaching her how to take care of people by listening and giving advice. She heeds her great grandmother’s words daily: “If you haven’t helped anyone today, you’ve wasted your day.”

Dr. Rutherford is particularly close with her own grandmother, who turned 96 last year.

“I always have my grandmother in mind when taking care of older patients,” she says. “One of my primary goals is to improve the experiences and outcomes in older patients with lymphoma.”

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Dr. Rutherford with her grandmother

The Lymphoma Program is proud to be entrusted with the care of patients of all ages and committed to enabling more people like Silvia lead long lives of spreading love and care to others.

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