Contact Us About This Story

Full Name 
Email Address 
Email Address 

Media Room

For more information or to schedule an interview, call 678-842-6112 or email us.

Pancreatic cancer survivor celebrates local affiliation with MD Anderson Cancer Network

Fayetteville, Ga. (November 14, 2014) – As someone who dedicated her entire adult life to being a healthcare provider, Leah Sardone, who was Piedmont Fayette Hospital’s first executive director of clinical services, was shocked when she found herself on the receiving end of a cancer diagnosis.

In June 2010, Sardone was having trouble with her blood pressure. While doing online research about her symptoms, she found an article that suggested her renal arteries could be to blame. Sardone met with her physician and they determined she would undergo diagnostic testing to look for problems in her renal arteries. She underwent the testing and that afternoon, the radiologist called Sardone’s physician to report that her renal arteries were fine, but she had a large tumor on the tail of her pancreas.

“I knew my life was going to change,” she remembers. “I was very terrified of what this was going to mean.”

Sardone decided to go to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for a second opinion. She met with an oncologist and had a biopsy performed there but decided she wanted to be in the comfort of home when she began her treatment regimen.

On the heels of Piedmont Healthcare’s recent announcement of their new affiliation with MD Anderson Cancer Network, Sardone is thankful that world class healthcare is available so close to home.

“It’s really hard to be so far away from your support network when you’re fighting cancer,” said Sardone. “Now that Piedmont is affiliated with the MD Anderson Cancer Network, we have the best of both worlds – we can receive treatment right here and know that MD Anderson experts are just a phone call away.”

“Our affiliation with the MD Anderson Cancer Network means that we’re combining the best of what we’ve already been doing at Piedmont Fayette with the world-renown expertise of MD Anderson,” said Jonathan Bender, M.D., medical director of Piedmont Fayette’s Cancer Center. “Our physicians who are certified by MD Anderson Cancer Network have access to peer to peer consultations, weekly patient-centered conferences and evidence-based, disease-specific guidelines for cancer treatment, prevention, early detection and follow-up care developed by a national leader in cancer care.” Sardone’s battle with cancer continued after a CT scan in 2011 showed that the cancer had metastasized. Since then, she has been on and off chemotherapy continuously. In June 2012, physicians told Sardone that she should consider not returning to work because her job required frequent travel.

At a loss for what to do, she began exploring the programs offered at Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Fayette Hospital and decided to volunteer as well. “I participate in three exercise classes a week, a craft class, a pottery class, drumming and massage therapy,” Sardone says. “It’s been a godsend. It has been the best thing I ever did.”

Because cancer treatment involves more than medical care, free services and programs such as yoga, cooking demos, expressive art classes and counseling are available to anyone affected by cancer at any phase in his or her journey through Piedmont’s Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness program. For more information, visit

Back to Top