The beginning of their story may be different, but for more than 70 people attending the Georgia Cancer Center’s Cancer Survivor Luncheon, the ending is the same: victory over cancer. They are just a few of the 15.5 million cancer survivors across the country celebrating the end of chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery.
At the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University, these survivors and their families and friends spent a Saturday meeting fellow survivors of all types of cancers.
“We brought together a talented group of people to lead workshops that address the mind, the body and the spirit,” said Christine O’Meara, director of cancer information and awareness. “It was a chance to share skills that will enhance the survivors’ and the caregivers’ lives.”
The Georgia Cancer Center’s Office of Cancer Information and Awareness and the East Georgia Cancer Coalition teamed up for the lunch and learn. June is National Cancer Survivor Month. The event brought together survivors of 22 different kinds of cancer celebrating a combined 507 years of survivorship.
“It was an uplifting day,” O’Meara said. “A day to inspire those currently fighting cancer. A chance to show them there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A hope for a life free from cancer.”
The workshops included: Yoga for Coping with Cancer, Using Music as Self-Care, Fight Cancer with a Fork and Staying Healthy with LIVESTRONG.
Sok Hwee Tay runs the music therapy support service at the Georgia Cancer Center. She wanted to show how songs could energize and improve a person’s outlook on life after experiencing the pain and sadness and fear that can be a part of a cancer diagnosis. The music therapy support group meets every Monday at 1 p.m. in the Georgia Cancer Center Outpatient Clinic.
The longest survivor in attendance was Frances Hollmon. She’s celebrating 33 years of survivorship. Hollmon was honored for her victory over breast cancer with a bouquet of flowers.
O’Meara said she’s received a lot of positive feedback from those who took part in the lunch and learn. She said her office is already looking forward to future opportunities to learn, to network, to support and celebrate survivorship.