Surviving cancer, celebrating life

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Brain tumor survivor Brianna Belair, 12, watches sea urchins at the National Cancer Survivors Day event at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo with her parents, Ann and Brian Belair. (PHOTOS BY SUSAN KAHN)

Breast cancer survivor Health Kraus.

Breast cancer survivor Heather Kraus.

Thanks to early detection, treatment and follow-up care, more people than ever before are living with a history of cancer. They are survivors with a shared experience.

Camilla Bowman, a 16-year cancer survivor, gets her face painted at the celebration.

Camilla Bowman, a 16-year cancer survivor, gets her face painted at the celebration.

In addition to physical side effects that may linger, survivors often struggle emotionally to come to terms with what they’ve gone through – especially if life doesn’t get back to normal as quickly as they would like. The effects of cancer, after all, don’t end when treatment does.

Cancer survivor Virginia "Gigi" Castro and her son, Marc.

Cancer survivor Virginia “Gigi” Castro and her son, Marc.

Many survivors carry memories of difficult treatment regimens. Many say cancer taught them to cherish every day and each person in their lives. Many simply celebrate life.

Upstate, since 1996, has made a point to support cancer survivors through National Cancer Survivors Day, an annual celebration of life and the spirit of survivorship. This year’s event took place at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park in Syracuse.

The Cancer Center’s Survivor Wellness Program (315-464-5294) provides long-term follow-up care to people who have received treatment for pediatric and adult malignancies.

cancercaresummerThis article appears in the summer 2016 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

 

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