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Victory is Sweet at Methodist’s Survivor Sundae

Posted on June 29, 2017

National Cancer Sur­vivors’ Day is an annual, worldwide celebration of life where cancer survivors unite to show the world what life after cancer looks like. On Sunday, June 4, Method­ist Medical Center of Oak Ridge honored these cancer survivors, their family and friends by hosting Survivor Sundae, an ice cream social celebrating National Cancer Survivors’ Day.

More than 100 cancer survivors, care­givers and the community gathered to enjoy the free event, make ice cream sun­daes, connect with other sur­vivors and cancer support organizations, and listen to music by the Mt. LeConte Jug Band, which was spon­sored by the Cooperative Agreement of Labor and Management (CALM).

“Sometimes people have a negative idea of what life after cancer looks like,” said Kim Maes, manager of Methodist’s Cancer Support Services and event orga­nizer. “But the reality is that more people are living lon­ger and having better quality lives after cancer than ever before. Survivors are show­ing us that life after cancer can be meaningful, exciting and filled with joy.”

The day was indeed filled with joy, with music and friends, with door prizes, giveaways and a fun photo booth.  Guests learned about skin cancer prevention at the Sun Safety booth, young attend­ees enjoyed the Kid’s Zone, while survivors and cancer patients had the opportunity to learn about community resources such as the Can­cer Support Community and American Cancer Society as well as services offered by Methodist such as lymph­edema therapy, Thompson Cancer Survival Center and the Wound Treatment Cen­ter.

The Survivor Sundae festivities included people of all ages, from all walks of life and with many different associations with this disease that touches ev­eryone in some way.

“Five percent of the U.S. population is made up of cancer survivors and that number is going to keep rising as we continue to find better treatments,” said oncologist/hematologist Dr. Michael Thompson, as he addressed the crowd. “Not every journey has a happy ending, but every morning I look forward to going to work because I get to spend every day with you ‘five percenters’ from whom I draw great inspiration – from your courage, your trust and your sweetness. I am not just a doctor. I am your fellow traveler. My career, and my life, are infinitely better for being part of your journey.

Maes concluded, “Every year, this event shows can­cer survivors that people in the community care and want to celebrate with them as they come through such a difficult journey.”

The community’s sup­port is vital to cancer pa­tients as we see each day through the Hospitality Houses at Methodist. The Houses provide free, tem­porary lodging to cancer patients and their families when they must travel for treatment at Methodist. The Houses are supported through the charitable do­nations of the community, which include monetary gifts, as well as donations of food, household supplies and volunteer time. The community has also come together to raise money for life-saving and treatment-enhancing technology like the cone beam CT used for radiation treatments and the specialized coils needed for breast MRI.

Survivor Sundae was not about raising money. It was about raising awareness that the odds are getting better, that lives are being saved, that each and every day there is new hope and that we are all a part of that.