Cary Prague fighting cancer

By Kyle Kernan
South Windsor - posted Fri., Feb. 24, 2012
Photo contributed
Cary Prague.

Cary Prague, a Town Councilor and active member of the South Windsor community who is well-known for his community spirit, underwent brain surgery on Jan. 10 to remove a malignant brain tumor.

Dr. Brendan Killory, Prague’s surgeon, worked at Barrows Hospital in Phoenix, Ariz., which is known as one of the best neuro-surgery hospitals in the country. Killory is credited with more than 1,000 successful surgeries and he uses a minimally invasive technique. In July of 2011 he came to Hartford Hospital.

“I was lucky to have him. Many brain tumor patients only have 90-95 percent of their tumors removed and have a really poor prognosis of six months," said Prague. "I had 100 percent removed, but that is a misnomer.”

Microscopic cells always remain and the tumor eventually grows back in three to nine months. The median life expectancy from diagnosis is 14 months.

“I should have somewhat longer than that, because Dr. Kilory ‘got it all and then some,’ but the additional life expectancy is measured in months, not years, although there are those who survive much longer,” said Prague.

Prague said he’s doing very well, as his blood counts are steady and he’s tolerating the chemotherapy and radiation. He underwent the procedure on a Tuesday and returned to work the following Saturday.

Prague receives treatment five to six times a week. He is also taking Temodar to inhibit the development of the cells.

He was wearing an Under Armor hat with the phrase “beat the storm,” and lightening bolts embedded under the brims, which he received as a gift from close friend Roseanna Sapula. Prague has lost all of his hair from the radiation, and shaved his head. Still he’s in good spirits. "I hope to beat it, I expect to beat it," said Prague.

Prague has established himself as a key member of the South Windsor community over the last decade.

“He’s a personal friend of mine, we call him sign guy, if we need something done, we call on him,” said Shari Fiveash, executive director at the Chamber of Commerce.

“He's a tremendous contributor to the community in a variety of organizations; he's a dynamo for us,” said Mayor Thomas Delnicki, a longtime friend and associate. “I can remember the first time we met at a Police Golf Tournament and he pulled up in a golf cart, decked out as a NASCAR race car. It was then we began friends,” said Delnicki.

Prague recalled when he was asked what he thought was best about the town of South Windsor, he first said "it’s the town’s location and development," but he said, "it’s really the people."

The South Windsor Rotary Club is comprised of 50 men and women who run it selflessly, raising money, Prague said. When Prague came to one of the Rotary meetings wearing his Under Armor hat, he was surprised to see all 50 Rotarians were wearing a hat to make him feel more comfortable. “I was overwhelmed and most grateful," said Prague.

Prague has been co-chair of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event for several years. In 2005, he helped relocate the event from Vernon to South Windsor.

Shelia Strong is representing Prague in Relay for Life, and the team is registered on the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life website as “Kicking Cancer’s Ass for Cary,”sponsored by the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce.

Strong, who serves alongside Prague on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, said, "half of kicking cancer’s ass is the mental game. He’s an amazing person, he’s out there putting out signs for events, doing things that no one else will do. He’s a rare breed,” she said of Prague.

"Strong has been an inspiration to me when I was most despondent after the diagnosis, and when I looked up the statistics and realized 50 percent of the people die within one year," Prague said.

“I’ve received 400 get well cards and have a great support system, starting with my wife, Karen, my children, my sister who has had breast cancer and lots of friends and colleagues; and I have received wishes and prayers from many of the people in town whose lives I have touched and didn’t even know,” said Prague.

He encourages everyone to go to Relay for Life this upcoming year. “The love you feel there is amazing,” Prague said.

Prague served as Mayor of South Windsor in 2008, (that he says he won, thanks to the support of Delnicki.) He is a Charter Member for South Windsor, served as Treasurer of the town and was an Executive Board Member on the Chamber of Commerce.

Prague is currently working at Ticket Network and is developing a new, innovative software for the company. He is a pioneer in the Computer Software Industry.

“There's a lot of people pulling for Cary, he's in our prayers. I'm hopeful he'll continue forward,” said Delnicki. Prague said he wants to be known for his dedicated service to the community.

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