Dozens of five-year cancer survivors celebrated the milestone during a recent ceremony at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Heavy rains prevented the planting of trees and release of doves to mark the occasion, but the cancer survivors nonetheless enjoyed Celebrate Life 2014.
Survivors passed along commemorative lapel pins as a symbol of hope to patients undergoing treatment at CTCA, at 1331 E. Wyoming Ave.
The day concluded with speeches, videos, lunch, live music, inspirational stories and information tables underneath a giant tent pitched in the parking lot. A dogwood tree was on stage to represent the trees that could not be planted because of the rain.
“This is a great celebration. It’s incredibly moving and unbelievably powerful, and motivates us to do even more,” said John McNeil, president and CEO of the local CTCA. “Fighting cancer is hard. The patient works hardest of all. They become a part of our family.”
The survivors heard from Richard Stephenson, who founded CTCA in 1988 in memory of his mother, Mary Brown Stephenson, who died of bladder cancer six years earlier.
Stephenson was not happy with the care his mom received, so he implemented what he called the “Mother Standard.” All employees are expected to care for patients the way they’d want their mothers treated. ••