Author: Staff Writer
Published: August 20, 2014
Sonya Thompson, an ovarian cancer survivor from Palmetto, joined more than 100 five-year cancer survivors in June, for an emotional 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.
Thompson, pictured with Gerard van Grinsven, President and CEO, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), 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 CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion, Illinois, 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 Islands, 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 helped my daughter design her wedding cake and plan the wedding, traveled to Virginia to see my sister get married and attended the births of three new grandsons,” says Thompson. “Being a five-year survivor means I fought a good fight and didn’t give up. It’s a promise I made my son and family.”
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.”