It’s a marvelous moment when people join together for no other occasion than to celebrate life. That is what National Cancer Survivors Day is all about.
The accomplishments of modern science are evident in the ever growing cancer survivor population. National Cancer Survivors Day, typically held the first Sunday of June, is an opportunity for everyone to come together and celebrate that there is life after cancer. Over 12 million cancer survivors are living and thriving in the United States today.
The last two years I have had the privilege to serve on our local National Cancer Survivors Day committee. It is a committee that works together to plan an afternoon of festivity for our community’s cancer survivors and their caregivers. Our committee is made up of representatives from various local organizations that serve the cancer community, in addition to a few cancer survivors and advocates.
Left to Right: Cynthia Dunlap- American Cancer Society, Gwen Atkins – cancer survivor and volunteer, Elizabeth Bornstein – Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System, George Bahr – Tidewell Hospice, Pat Van Stedum- Susan G. Komen, Dianne Whitten – Center for Building Hope, Angela Long- Breast Investigators, Dawn Moore- cancer survivor and volunteer. Not pictured, Camilla Reid-Manatee County Health Department, Lourdes Arvelo- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
It has been a wonderful experience for me to work alongside this team whose sole purpose is to put together a special event to honor those who have persevered through a cancer diagnosis. Our goal is not to raise a gazillion dollars, just enough to cover our expenses so that we can offer up this day free to all who would like to attend. Nonprofits, hospitals, treatment centers, and physicians are typically our sponsors for the event as they pay tribute to those they serve.
For the past several years our local event has been held at a popular venue – the ballroom at Michael’s on East. Our theme has been “Celebrate the Music of Life”, and it is the perfect fit for the day. We have musicians entertain while our honored guests enjoy a light snack and possibly capture a memory in the fun photo booth. The afternoon is an event that everyone really seems to enjoy, and they must since many return year after year. And what a good thing that is!
Ask your local hospital or cancer centers to find out if there is a National Cancer Survivors Day Celebration near you. If there’s not, maybe you could be the person to start one. To learn more about National Cancer Survivors Day, you can visit www.NCSDF.org.
Photos from National Cancer Survivors Day Sarasota/Manatee Florida 2011