Cancer survivors celebrate milestone

Can­cer sur­viv­or Vic­tor­ia John­son (right) and hus­band Mi­chael par­ti­cip­ate in the Can­cer Treat­ment Cen­ters of Amer­ica’s Cel­eb­rate Life pro­gram.

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. ••

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