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Local man finds inspiration while dealing with cancer diagnosis

| Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 10:27 a.m.

Bob Pavuchak of Green Tree was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma in 2008, a form of cancer that affects only 300 males per year in the United States. He underwent seven months of chemotherapy, blood transfusions and a stem cell transplant. He was given a 15 to 20 percent chance to survive.

While he was in treatment, Pavuchak found it frustrating sometimes to do the most basic of activities. It was even difficult for him to take a shower, because of the catheter inserted in his arm designed for chemotherapy.

The frustration led Pavuchak to design something that would keep the catheter dry. While he was hospitalized, he showed his drawings to nurses and doctors. The product became the shower soc and the PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) soc.

Today, he is cancer-free with a medical device business.

“My story is one of survival. I want to tell people to be strong and keep dreaming,” Pavuchak said.

The soc is made from a lightweight plastic with an integrated band that helps secure the protection for the PICC line so as to keep it dry. The company sold more than 50,000 socs in 2013.

The waterproof covers work on casts and bandages for PICC lines and IVs, or elastic compression or tubular bandages, and have allowed patients to continue with their daily routines with minimal interruptions and inconvenience. Caregivers, urged on by their patients, have begun calling to see if they can sell the products wholesale with bulk pricing.

The first shower soc, made from plastic, was sold to UPMC in March 2011. Today, his products are available in 10 hospitals in Pittsburgh. Orders are coming in from Australia and England through online sale site Amazon UK.

The socs can be purchased through websites www.ppcustommedicalsupplies.com and www. picclinecoverprotector.com.

“Want it, will it, believe in yourself, and have faith,” Pavuchak said. “Make it happen and you can be the one to tell the next story of survival.”

For more information, visit the websites or call 412-564-4610.

Charlotte Smith is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media and can be reached at 724-693-9441 or charlotte59@comcast.net.

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