Carol S. Blecher, an Advanced Practice Nurse with 23 years of oncology experience was the featured speaker at the event. Her presentation focused on ways survivors cope with a cancer diagnosis and outlined physical and emotional tools needed to protect health and wellness. She reviewed the four stages of survival: Acute Survival, Transitional Survivorship, Extended Survival, and Permanent Survival. Blecher noted signs to watch during cancer treatment, including fatigue and depression, long term effects of chemotherapy, and highlighted ways to get back into life. While a cancer changes the patient and the family forever, Blecher emphasized that people are survivors from the day of diagnosis and that family and caregivers are also survivors.
According to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides networking to hospitals, support groups, and other cancer-related organizations, National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual, treasured celebration of life that is held in hundreds of communities nationwide. It is a celebration for those who have survived, an inspiration for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of support for families, and an outreach to the community. Participants unite in a symbolic event to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful, productive, and even inspiring.