BROOKVILLE — A job isn’t always just a job. Sometimes it becomes a family.
Dustin Songer, of Brookville, Tuesday was greeted by the employees of Miller Welding & Machine Co.’s Sandy Lick plant as a family member.
Songer had worked for the company prior to being diagnosed with Glioblastomas.
GBM are tumors that arise from astrocytes – the star-shaped cells that make up the “glue-like,” or supportive tissue of the brain. These tumors are usually highly malignant (cancerous) because the cells reproduce quickly and are supported by a large network of blood vessels, according to information from the American Brain Tumor Association.
Tuesday morning employees gathered into a sea of gray. Each wore their usual hard hats and safety glasses but they also each wore a gray T-shirt. The shirts had the MWM logo on the front but the back had a message, “We wear gray for Dustin’s Day.”
“First off, I’d like to thank you all for being so supportive of Dustin. I know you remember him as he worked here for several years before getting ill,” Lori Wagner, his mother, said.
Dustin was in Pittsburgh about eight weeks ago and Wagner says at that time he was diagnosed as being tumor free. “It’s been a long road, he was diagnosed (with GBM) two years ago, January 5. He’s undergone lots of different treatments,” including chemotherapy and radiation, among others.
“But with the support of this town and all of you here, Dustin has perservered,” she said.
Wagner says she “cooked this idea up in her head because she thought it would be good for Dustin to see that you are all still behind him and it would be good for you guys to get an update on how he is doing.”
Wagner asked those who believed in prayer to keep praying for Dustin’s recovery.
As workers filed into another room to partake of cookies, they greeted Dustin with a hug and words of friendship. Wagner noted at that time that the family is also waiting to hear when 3-year-old Anna, Dustin and Lindsay’s daughter will be scheduled for surgery. She has been diagnosed with Chiari malformations, which are structural defects in the base of the skull and cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance and can block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Surgery can relieve the symptoms. Wagner said they hope that the surgery can be done in June but that is yet to be determined.