From family members to close friends, everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by cancer. On Sunday, June 2, 2013, thousands of people around the world will gather to observe the 26th annual National Cancer Survivors Day. Hundreds of communities across the U.S. and abroad will hold celebrations on this day to honor cancer survivors and show that there is life after a cancer diagnosis – and it’s worth celebrating.
National Cancer Survivors Day is a cherished annual worldwide celebration of life. It is the one day each year that we pause to honor everyone who is living with a history of cancer – including America’s nearly 14 million cancer survivors. “A ‘survivor’ is anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life,” according to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation.
NCSD provides an opportunity for cancer survivors to connect with other survivors, celebrate milestones, and recognize the healthcare providers, family, and friends who have supported them along the way. It is a day for cancer survivors to stand together and show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful, productive, and even inspiring.
NCSD activities will be as diverse as the communities where the events are being held and will include parades, carnivals, walks, races, art exhibits, health fairs, inspirational programs, and more. There will be laughter and tears, shouts of joy and moments of quiet reflection, hope for the future and strength to endure today, and maybe even a little music and dancing.
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 cancer treatment center, hospital, or American Cancer Society office. Or you can host an event of your own. The NCSD website, ncsd.org, has everything you need to plan a successful NCSD celebration.
“When most people hear the word ‘cancer,’ they automatically think the worst,” says Foundation spokesperson, Laura Shipp. “But the truth is that more people are living longer and better quality lives after cancer than ever before. National Cancer Survivors Day is an opportunity for these cancer survivors to come together and celebrate this new reality in cancer survivorship. There is life after cancer. And that’s something to celebrate.”
NCSD started in the United States in 1987 and is now celebrated worldwide in countries including Canada, Australia, India, South Africa, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Italy, and Malaysia, according to Shipp.
The nonprofit National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation provides free guidance, education, and networking support to hundreds of hospitals, support groups, and other cancer-related organizations that host National Cancer Survivors Day events in their communities. The Foundation’s primary mission is to bring awareness to the issues of cancer survivorship in order to better the quality of life for cancer survivors.
Cancer survivors may face physical, emotional, social, and financial challenges as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment. Many are confronted with limited access to specialists, a lack of information about promising new treatments, inadequate or no insurance, difficulty finding employment, and psychosocial struggles.
“To say that cancer is challenging is an understatement,” says Shipp. “But it is a challenge that millions of people – 14 million in the U.S. alone – are overcoming. Though life may not look the same after a cancer diagnosis, these survivors are showing us that life after cancer can be rewarding, exciting, and filled with joy.”
The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, along with the NCSD 2013 national sponsors Bristol-Myers Squibb, Coping with Cancer magazine, and Lilly USA, LLC, is encouraging a greater commitment to resolving quality of life issues for cancer survivors. “More resources, research, and increased public awareness are needed to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors,” says Shipp. “Because of advances in modern medicine, cancer survivors are now living much longer after diagnosis. However, long-term survivorship poses its own unique challenges. We need to do a better job of addressing the hardships survivors face beyond treatment.”
Leading up to the event, the Foundation urges everyone – cancer survivors and supporters alike – to spread the message that there is life after cancer, and it's something to celebrate. The following are suggested posts for your social media sites.
On Facebook: You can live a fulfilling life after a cancer diagnosis. Just ask the millions of people who have survived it. Celebrate life on National Cancer Survivors Day - Sunday, June 2. facebook.com/CancerSurvivorsDay
About the National Sponsors: