“The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation defines a survivor as anyone living with a history of cancer- from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life.” (nscd.org). This day recognizes and celebrates those who have battled cancer and won, and to help bring hope to those still battling. Those suffering from cancer, their families and caregivers deserve to know that the circumstances are far from hopeless; treatment has gotten advanced, and there are groups around the world, usually online to help navigate everyone involved through treatment, recovery, and survivorship.
The National Cancer Survivors Day was first announced by Merril Hastings at the second national conference meeting of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship in Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 20, 1987. The first National Cancer Survivors Day was held on June 5, 1988. (Wikipedia. Yes, I know but it was the best resource I could find).
It’s important to remember that this day is set aside to celebrate those surviving and who have survived cancer. Everyone has a story and most are the same, “I was diagnosed, it was devastating, I made it through treatment with (fill in the blank) to help and support me, and now I”m living cancer-free.” The crux of this is the ‘living cancer-free’ part. The survivors, along with caregivers, can take the positive message of hope and courage to those newly diagnosed and those still going through treatments and show them life after cancer. They dance. They eat. They have fun. They wake up to another dull ordinary day. They live. And they live life. It may be with a different, dare I say better, perspective but still living.
Another way survivors can take advantage of survivorship is to advocate for research and awareness of the different cancers, and help to eliminate the “death sentence” mentality the general public has about it. Changing the image of cancer survivorship is an important but somewhat overlooked point. When those never diagnosed with cancer or not touched by it in any way see someone who once fought cancer, we can’t believe how healthy they look. “You had cancer! But you look great!”
Tricounty Cancer Survivors will be celebrating Cancer Survivor’s Day June 4th at the Scottish Center, see our event page on Facebook and our website for more information. We have numerous vendors, lots of good food, music, dancing and prizes. For what, you ask? Our theme is “Hats off to Survivors” and we will be holding a hat contest. The winner will receive a fantastic prize. Come join us in our celebration of survivorship of cancer!