Cancer survivors, their families and caregivers gathered recently at the Blount Memorial Wellness Center to celebrate Cancer Survivor’s Day.
Sponsored by the Blount Memorial Hospital Cancer Center and Foundation and Community Outreach, the event was held on Sunday, May 15.
Blount Memorial Cancer Center radiation oncology technical coordinator Randy Carr says this event is a great way for the Cancer Center staff and physicians to reconnect with their patients outside of a clinical setting.
“We get to see the patients and their family members, because we also form relationships with the families as much as we do our patients. That’s why we like the word ‘homecoming’ and call our event that - it’s a chance to celebrate with our entire ‘family.’”
Attendees enjoyed a picnic lunch, Bingo games and a special ceremony outside of the Blount Memorial Wellness Center at Springbrook in Alcoa.
WATE meteorologist Matt Hinkin was the master of ceremonies, Dr. Albert Petty gave a community cancer update, Dr. Melissa Trekell provided an update on the Commission on Cancer accreditation and cancer survivor Mick Stang talked about his experience with two bouts of cancer.
Carr says this event also gives those who are newly diagnosed the opportunity to see other people who have long-term survival stories, and it gives the newly diagnosed hope.
The event also benefits survivors by recognizing milestones. “By coming to this event each year, survivors have a visual reminder that ‘OK, I’ve gone another year.’ They love to collect the medals because medals symbolize victory - and to our patients, another year of survival is a victory worth celebrating.”
For the caregivers, Carr says Cancer Survivors Day helps validate what they do on a daily basis. “We all know that eventually our lives will be touched by cancer, whether it’s you being diagnosed or someone else,” Carr said. “Cancer Survivors Day gives our community the opportunity to get together.”