Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cancer Survivors Celebrate Life

by Jill Adler
Coordinator, Patient Information Services
Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute, LifeBridge Health

Lime green goodie bags lined the hallway like proud soldiers Sunday afternoon at the Pikesville Hilton where over 100 cancer survivors, their family and friends came to celebrate LIFE. Survivors received a warm welcome as they were greeted by nurses and other staff with colorful leis representing their years of survivorship from months to over 20 years.

The foyer magically turned into a min-spa with six healing stations set up. Feet were rubbed, pressure points were gently releived and participants could be seen relaxing with headphones on a warm mat filled with healing crystals. Can you say Freedom to Relax!

If you could peel yourself away from the spa a sea of vendors including local cancer resources, LifeBridge Health program and services and several activity stations surrounded the main ballroom.

Roars of laughter would soon be heard from the crowd as they witnessed a funny lady sitting on a barstool with a tattered book on her lap. Such a lady could only be known as Kathy LaTour, the keynote speaker, an author, comic and breast cancer survivor. Ms. Latour shared entries from her journal that set the stage for each step in her cancer experience: discovery, diagnosis, treatment, chemo, hair loss, acceptance and lessons learned. She left the crowd feeling like they were all part of a great big inside joke.....lifted, lighter and more connected. In the picture above you can see me with Ms. LaTour and Erika Akers from Breast Friends.

Although bellies were full of laughter at day's end, there was still room for the sweetness of dessert thanks to Whole Foods and Debi's Cake Studio who donated beautifully decorated cakes.

Any day that starts with warm hugs and ends with sugary treats is indeed a cause for celebration!

To learn more about the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute, click here or call 410-601-WELL (9355).