Peter Forman signifies end of his battle with cancer with three rings of a bell at NYU Winthrop

Peter Forman signifies end of his battle with cancer with three rings of a bell at NYU Winthrop
Peter Forman, a Sands Point trustee and Commissioner for the Port Washington- Manhasset Office of Emergency Management, donated a bell to NYU Winthrop to signify the end of his cancer treatment. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

Peter Forman wears many hats — as a trustee in Sands Point, the commissioner of Port Washington-Manhasset Office of Emergency Management, an entrepreneur, husband and father of three. And when he found out he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in September, he didn’t let it slow him down.

After eight long months, he marked the end of his cancer treatment last Friday morning with three rings of a large ship’s bell that he donated to NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola for many other survivors to ring after him.

A plaque with the bell reads, “Ring this bell, three times well, to celebrate this day. This course is run, my treatment done, now I am on my way.”

Forman donated the bell as a gift not only for the patients in NYU Winthrop’s Oncology and Hematology floor but also for the nurses, doctors and hospital staff as a milestone marker that another patient has had a successful treatment.

He referred to “It’s a Wonderful Life”’s concluding quote that “every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings” and said “the nurses here, the staff, the doctors, they’re the angels.”

Dr. Jeffrey Schneider, chief of the Division of Oncology/Hematology and a family friend of Forman, said: “There is no greater thrill than to celebrate the completion of a cancer treatment that gives patients back life.”

“The people up here do God’s work, they do it every day and it doesn’t always get celebrated,” he said of Forman’s donation. “So to have something symbolic like this at the completion of treatment is very meaningful and I think it would be impactful for patients, providers and everyone else involved in this important work.”

Forman said when he was first diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia, he handled it “like the emergency manager I am for the community.” He immediately sought out the best doctors, best treatment and what he had to do to get cured.

He first began his treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan and completed his treatment more locally at NYU Winthrop.

“Both hospitals of which I have only the finest things to say,” Forman said.

In December, Forman was given the good news that he was in remission. And last Friday, when his doctors finally removed his IV, which he had to wear in his arm five days a week throughout the eight months of his treatment, he said he felt “like he was crossing the finish line.”

From these challenging months, Forman said he has left with the desire to remain grateful every day for those who support him: his family, close friends, doctors, medical team and God.

He also left his treatment with a more profound appreciation of getting to play and cuddle with his two rescue dogs from the North Shore Animal League, his weekly glass of wine or vodka and his ability to return to serving his community.

Forman urges others to not only donate blood but platelets, which helped save his life.

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