Celebrating Cancer Survival

HYANNIS – Take some time to enjoy an afternoon of celebration, camaraderie, sharing, inspiration, and smiles at the seventh annualCancer Survivors Day Celebrationon Sunday, June 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis.

Patients and their families will get a break from the everyday concerns of cancer and its treatment by taking time to relax and to experience a sample massage or Reiki offered by some of theCape Cod Wellness Collaborativepractitioners. Attendees will also have an opportunity to eat some tasty, nourishing food and share their story with others.

“This is a wonderful way for cancer survivors to celebrate their journey and recognize the strength that they have as survivors,” said Judi Pregot, LICSW, radiation oncology social worker at theDavenport-Mugar Cancer Centerat Cape Cod Hospital. “I think going through your treatment and celebrating your survival with others who share a commonality, is a wonderful way to celebrate their victory. This special event is a way for the hospital and the cancer center to give back to our patients and to show how much we care.”

National Cancer Survivors Day is celebrated every year on the first Sunday in June and was established by theNational Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, 31 years ago. Their website states: “It is a day for everyone, whether you’re a cancer survivor, a family member, a friend, or medical professional.”

This year’s Cape Cod event is sponsored by theCape Cod Healthcare Regional Cancer Networkin partnership withNational Cancer Survivors Day.

There will be informational material provided by theAmerican Cancer Society,entertainment and the guest speaker will be Michael Lauf,Cape Cod Healthcare’spresident and CEO.

Gift Bags

Survivors will notice a small change in tradition from previous Cancer Survivors Days. This year, everyone will receive a creative gift bag filled with donated items from hospital departments, medical offices and theVisiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod.

“Everyone under the umbrella of Cape Cod Healthcare participates,” said Pregot. “The gift bags will honor all of the survivors. Each survivor will receive a ticket when they check in at registration to ensure that they receive a bag.”

Gift certificates for local restaurants, or a spa day, movie passes, tickets to local museums and live theater performances were among the suggestions for filling the bags.

In the past, the departments created and donated themed baskets, which continued to increase in size each year, according to Pregot.

“We have a wide range of ages and abilities among the attendees and some attendees are still going through treatment, which made it difficult for them to carry the basket. While staff helped them to their cars, the survivor would have to get the winning basket into their home after the event.”

In addition, in years past, not every survivor received a basket. Last year, 51 gift baskets were donated and there were approximately 200 survivors who attended the event.

Raffle Tickets

Another change this year will be the award system for the departments who donate gift bags. Traditionally, the baskets were judged by a three-person committee comprised of a physician, an American Cancer Society representative and one other person, explained Pregot. This year, each department will receive a raffle ticket for every gift bag they donate, which increases their chance of winning. The top three departments will receive a monetary prize and they can choose what they would like to do with the prize money.

Medical staff will join the survivors and their families in celebration of this year’s Survivors Day.

“It’s nice when the staff are at the event. The survivors get to see them in a different setting,” said Pregot.

There is no charge for the Cancer Center Survivor Day Celebration but those wishing to attend are asked to register by calling 508-862-5060.

By ROBERTA CANNON, Cape Cod Health News

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