Are you a cancer survivor or do you know someone who is? Sunday, June 6, 2010 marks the 23rd observance of National Cancer Survivors Day, an annual global celebration of life. The day unites survivors in a symbolic event that shows life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful and productive.
In the United States alone, it’s estimated there are 11 million cancer survivors. Hospitals, support groups and other organizations are holding events that celebrate the cancer patient’s life and also honor the contributions of the families, friends, researchers and health care providers. The activities will be as diverse as the places where the events are held and will include parades, carnivals, races, art exhibits, ball games, contests, dances, inspirational programs and more.
In 2009 celebrations included the following:
Miami, Fla. - Cancer survivors, family, and friends from the Miami Children's Hospital celebrated at a Florida Marlins baseball game.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah of Saudi Arabia joined hands with two young cancer survivors in a human chain to show support for cancer survivors and their families at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's first NCSD event.
Parsippany, NJ - Paddlers from the Pathways Team SOS (Save Our Sisters) and Team Dragon of the NJ Dragon Boat Club participated in the "Flowers on the Water" ceremony at the Friendship Dragon Boat Races.
The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, administrator for the celebration, is encouraging everyone to participate in their community’s event. To locate the one nearest you, check with your local hospital or American Cancer Society office, or call the Foundation at (615) 794-3006. You can also download information, including a free planning guide, at ncsd.org if you’re interested in hosting an event.
“Come join in the fun and see for yourself that life can go on, and is sometimes even enhanced by a cancer diagnosis,” said Foundation spokesperson Paula Chadwell. The observance started in the United States and is now worldwide, Chadwell added, and is observed in countries including Australia, Italy, and Malaysia. See the organization's website for a map showing all countries that participate.
“A ‘survivor’ is anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life,” as defined by the Foundation. Cancer survivors may face many challenges such as hindered access to cancer specialists and promising new treatments, inadequate or no insurance, financial hardships, employment problems and psychological struggles. “Despite these difficulties, cancer survivors can live active, productive lives,” Chadwell said.
Resources for more information on cancer and survivorship:
National Cancer Survivors Day: www.ncsd.org
National Cancer Institute: www.cancer.gov
American Society of Clinical Oncology: www.cancer.net
American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts & Figures: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/STT/STT_0.asp
American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org
Canadian Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.ca/
Cancer Council Australia: http://www.cancer.org.au/Home.htm
Cancer Help UK: http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/index.htm