Woman visits Cleveland Clinic to thank doctors for saving her life, 18 years after brain surgery

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A woman who survived brain cancer after her Cleveland Clinic doctors performed life-saving brain surgery, came back to thank them on Friday, the 18th anniversary of the procedure.

Rachel Given was 25 when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her doctors were unsure if she would survive. However, her medical team, which included Dr. Gene Barnett, Dr. David Peereboom, and Dr. Michael Steinmetz, were able to cope with the challenges, and the young woman survived.

Nearly two decades later, she says she's grateful to them for giving her another chance at life. She came to Cleveland Clinic with cards and a box of gifts for her former doctors. She presented them with crocheted elephants she knit herself, complete with a stethoscope.

"An elephant never forgets," said Given, "and I won't forget you."

She also gave the Cleveland Clinic 18 other hand-knitted elephants for patients who are in a similar situation she was, 18 years ago.

"Instead of saying 'thank you, goodbye,' I feel like it was a 'thank you, hello.'" said Rachel Given. "Hopefully, maybe I'll find my purpose, as I struggle with that. In reality, I have a lot of bad days. But I do have good days, and my good days are when I'm helping someone."

She's done a lot to help others as she continues to recover. She volunteers on medical mission trips, and says it was this experience, seeing doctors worry over the patients, that inspired her to come back and thank her own.

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