I can still remember my mom and grandparents sitting me down to tell me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. My mother was 31…I was 12… I can’t even describe how scary that was for me…
I remember thinking, “of all people, why her? She’s such a good person”… It’s a lot for a kid to take in… The worst part were her chemo and radiation treatments… She was always tired…always sick…always sad, especially when her hair began falling out…she just wasn’t the mommy I knew…
I was in 7th grade then. I believe it was my freshman year of college when she was finally finished with her radiation treatments… and now? She’s living… she doesn’t stress like she used to before she was diagnosed. I think she’s realized that life could always be worse and that she’s still here to continue living her life to the fullest… oh, and when her hair grew back…it was FLAWLESS!
I have a heavy history of breast cancer alone… My mother, my paternal grandmother, my maternal great grandmother and my paternal great grandmother..and that’s all I can remember at the moment… Also, my grandfather had prostate cancer… So, it’s safe to say, cancer has affected a lot of people in my family.
So today, I say “CONGRATS!”, to those of you who have not only had cancer, but survived it! Also, this is an important day for those who have been affected emotionally by their loved ones who have seen just how bad cancer can be…
“On Sunday, June 1, 2014, cancer survivors across the globe will unite to show the world what life after cancer looks like. This unique celebration will mark the 27th annual National Cancer Survivors Day®. Thousands of people in hundreds of communities across the U.S. and abroad will hold celebrations on this day to honor cancer survivors and to show that there is life after a cancer diagnosis – and it’s something to celebrate.
National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual worldwide Celebration of Life. It is the one day each year that we come together to honor everyone who is living with a history of cancer – including America’s 14 million cancer survivors. “A ‘survivor’ is anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life,” according to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, administrator for the celebration.
NCSD provides an opportunity for cancer survivors to connect with other survivors, celebrate milestones, and recognize the healthcare providers, family, and friends who have supported them along the way. It is a day for cancer survivors to stand together and show the world what life after cancer looks like.
“Sometimes people have very negative ideas of what life after cancer looks like,” says Foundation spokesperson, Laura Shipp. “But the reality is that more people are living longer and better quality lives after cancer than ever before. These survivors are showing us that life after cancer can be meaningful, exciting, and filled with joy.
“National Cancer Survivors Day is an opportunity for cancer survivors to come together and celebrate this new reality in cancer survivorship. There is life after cancer. It may not be the same as before cancer, but it can be beautiful, rewarding, and sometimes even better than before. And that’s something to celebrate.”
NCSD activities will be as diverse as the communities where the events are being held and will include parades, carnivals, walks, races, art exhibits, health fairs, inspirational programs, and more. There will be laughter and tears, shouts of joy and moments of quiet reflection, hope for the future and strength to endure today, and maybe even a little music and dancing.
The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation is encouraging everyone to participate in their community’s event. To locate the one nearest you, check with your local cancer treatment center, hospital, or American Cancer Society office. Or you can host an event of your own. The NCSD website, ncsd.org, has everything you need to plan a successful NCSD celebration.
NCSD started in the United States in 1987 and is now celebrated worldwide in countries including Canada, Australia, India, South Africa, Greece, Great Britain, Spain, and Nigeria, according to Shipp.
The nonprofit National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation provides free guidance, education, and support to hundreds of hospitals, support groups, and other cancer-related organizations that host National Cancer Survivors Day events in their communities. The Foundation’s primary mission is to bring awareness to the issues of cancer survivorship in order to better the quality of life for cancer survivors.
Cancer survivors may face physical, emotional, social, and financial challenges as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment. Many are confronted with limited access to specialists, a lack of information about promising new treatments, inadequate or no insurance, difficulty finding employment, and psychosocial struggles.
“To say that cancer is challenging is an understatement,” says Shipp. “But it is a challenge that millions of people – 14 million in the U.S. alone – are overcoming. The NCSD Foundation hopes that through National Cancer Survivors Day, we can not only bring awareness to the issues survivors face but also honor for the courage and strength of all those who are living with a history of cancer.”
The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation is encouraging a greater commitment to resolving quality of life issues for cancer survivors. “More resources, research, and increased public awareness are needed to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors,” says Shipp. “Because of advances in modern medicine, cancer survivors are now living much longer after diagnosis. However, long-term survivorship poses its own unique challenges. We need to do a better job of addressing the hardships survivors face beyond treatment.”
Leading up to the event, the Foundation urges everyone – cancer survivors and supporters alike – to show the world what life after cancer looks like. The following are suggested posts for your social media sites.
On Facebook: Let’s show the world what life after cancer looks like! Celebrate life on National Cancer Survivors Day – Sunday, June 1. facebook.com/CancerSurvivorsDay
On Twitter: Let’s show the world what life after cancer looks like! Celebrate life on National Cancer Survivors Day, June 1. #NCSD2014@SurvivorsDay
National Cancer Survivors Day 2014 is sponsored nationally by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Coping with Cancer magazine, with support from Amgen, Astellas, Genentech, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, and Teva Oncology.