Sally Falknor, a breast cancer survivor from Grayslake, IL, joined more than 100 five-year cancer survivors on Friday, June 6, for an emotional and momentous walk down a red carpet lined with hundreds of cheering family, friends, caregivers and hospital care team members, to celebrate five years of cancer survivorship. Falknor also took part in a tree planting ceremony, symbolizing the wonder of life and growth. The activities were all part of the annual Celebrate Life® event held at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA®) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern), a time for cancer survivors to come together to rejoice in their personal milestones and to support one another as they continue their cancer survivorship journey.
The 2014 Celebrate Life event marks the 26th year that a tree has been planted in honor of each five-year survivor, providing the nation with a thriving forest of life-giving trees representing cancer survivorship. Participants honored represented 41 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Island, each offering support and strength to others, as they proudly posed for a photo in front of their commemorative tree.
"In the past five years I've seen the birth of my second grandson," said Falknor. "I've seen my son, a captain in the army and who has served in Iraq, come home and get married. "Being a five-year survivor means everything to me. I get to be a mom, grandmother, sister, friend, and coworker which I love so much."
The 2014 Celebrate Life event also included a gourmet luncheon with natural and organic foods prepared by the culinary team from the Wholesome Bistro, the CTCA in-hospital restaurant. Each celebrant was also honored with an engraved gold leaf, which is proudly displayed on one of three ever-growing "trees of life" located within the hospital.
Before the day concluded, many of the five-year survivors took time to walk through the hospital to offer comfort and support to other patients and family members who are battling cancer.
"I am continually humbled and amazed at the strength, resilience and fortitude of our patients and their caregivers," said Scott Jones, president and CEO of CTCA at Midwestern. "At Cancer Treatment Centers of America, our goal is to surround each patient with a Patient Empowered Care team delivering integrative, evidence based care throughout their journey so they can Celebrate Life every day."
For more information on Celebrate Life or CTCA at Midwestern please visit: www.cancercenter.com/midwestern.