The Official Website of National Cancer Survivors Day

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A Time to Celebrate

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chris FreyNCSD Guest Blog Post
by Chris Frey, LCSW, a six-year stage IV throat and neck
cancer survivor and author of  
I'm Sorry, It's Cancer:
A Handbook of Help and Hope for Survivors and
Caregivers
 living in St. Louis, MO


Celebrating recovery from cancer is a powerful community experience. It is vital that we make merry with our spouses, partners, immediate family, extended family, friends, and even other folks whose lives have been affected by cancer. There is a beauty in both the common cause of healing cancer that brings us together and in the diversity of these gatherings, which connect people from all walks of life.

I vividly remember attending my first survivors event. It was National Cancer Survivors Day 2008, and I was the guest speaker. I told my story. I heard the heart-felt stories of other survivors and caregivers. I watched and listened as families, including my own, interacted with the amazing professionals and volunteers who bring their knowledge and compassion to the cancer journey daily. Some of the memories shared were overflowing with joy. Some were very sad. All were celebrations of the lives of courageous people. We laughed, we commiserated, we hugged, and some of us cried. I made three new friends that day, unaware at the time that we would soon join one another in volunteer work.

Certainly there will be times in our lives when we need to feel the joy and the grief that cancer can bring in the quiet of our own thoughts and hearts. Time spent appreciating our closest loved ones and reflecting on our journeys will be, for many of us, central to our recovery. We may need to meditate, journal, or engage in silent prayer with our higher power.

National Cancer Survivors Day reminds me of another power – the power of togetherness. We gather to celebrate the lives of survivors, caregivers, families, and medical professionals. We are encouraged to share our victories, our challenges, our losses. We may walk, run, tell stories, sing, dance, or just whoop and holler. Because of the challenges cancer can impose, some folks may need to participate in a much less physical way, perhaps allowing the party to come to them. Some of us who are private by nature will simply prefer to sit quietly and share in the energy of the moment. All are welcome. It’s all good.

And so, on June 1, 2014, this year’s National Cancer Survivors Day, I invite each of you to join the people with whom you can laugh, commiserate, hug, and even cry. Then, break out the snacks!