Bethlehem health care worker battling cancer gets help from community

NAZARETH, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A woman from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania spends her day caring for others, even while she battles some health issues of her own.

Deanna Brunner could teach everyone a lesson on resilience. At 73 years old, she takes two buses to and from work every day at Gracedale Nursing Home in Nazareth.

"I've always been a go-getter, just keep on going," said Brunner, who's a CNA and therapeutic recreation aid at the nursing home.

Like it has for a lot of people, this year has been challenging for Brunner. In January she found out she has cancer.

"I go day by day and I'm just doing what I have to do, and as far as working, I want to keep moving, keep busy," she said.

While she was going through chemo, COVID-19 hit, and Brunner kept going to work despite the risks to herself. Her family can't help but not to worry.

"We have this routine when she gets home where she'll shower and we'll disinfect everything down and I tell her to make sure she has her masks on, which they do at her job," said her daughter, Katrina Shelly Kelly.

The bad news kept coming for family, however. Last month, they got a letter from the city saying they needed to paint their house to keep up with a code. They didn't know how they were going to pay for it, then the community stepped in.

"We got some donations from Lowe's and Ace Supply. We got a ladder from one of the neighbors. We're so grateful the community rallied together," said Kelly.

Link: GoFundMe page for Deanna Brunner

Brunner is thankful, too. With another round of chemo on the way, she's not one to complain. She's simply thankful she can still do her job and set aside her own struggles as she offers what she can to her community.

"I just feel it's my job. I want to help and do what I can. These residents are wonderful," said Brunner.

"She just thinks what she does and goes to work everyday, but it's really a testament to anyone who's working at a time like this. It says a lot about that person," said Kelly.
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