Cancer Survivors Tell Their Stories of Inspiration at Kimmel Cancer Center's 'Celebration of Life'
Mary Ann Castimore twice climbed Mount McKinley and over the next 12 months plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Fuji and McKinley again.
Barry Summers earned a black belt in karate, learned electrical and plumbing skills to remodel his home and welcomed a newborn baby daughter to his family.
Marie Reynolds pursues a song lyric writing career, is a single mother to two daughters, ages 16 and 11, and rides her bike every day.
Walter Palmer follows an active teaching career at the University of Pennsylvania and hopes to win another national gold medal as a track and field sprinter. All four have this in common: they are survivors of cancer. And they have achieved, or have continued to achieve, their accomplishments after being treated.
They told their stories of inspiration to a rapt audience of 180 other survivors of cancer and their family members who overflowed the Connelly Conference Room in the Bluemle Life Sciences Building for a "Celebration of Life: Cancer Survivors Day 2000."
Three speakers and the survivors in the audience were treated for their cancers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson which arranged the first-time event to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day.
Dr. Curran Opens Program
Richard C. Wender, MD, Clinical Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine, and Member, National Board of Directors, American Cancer Society, moderated the program and introduced each speaker.
Dr. Wender observed how remarkable the celebratory nature of the event was, commenting that the concept of cancer survivorship is a "new phenomenon" and that 10 years ago such a "celebration" would not have occurred.
"Now, instead of being reticent, we invite people with cancer to talk, and tell us about their experiences. All of us, including physicians, can listen and learn," Dr. Wender said.
To help lessen fear and put the disease in perspective for survivors and their families.
To hear successful personal stories that serve as an inspiration and a reminder that cancer survivors can and do reach amazing heights.
In fact, Ms. Castimore, the featured speaker, was one of five cancer survivors who climbed Mount McKinley in 1998 as members of the Breast Cancer Fund's expedition captured in the PBS documentary: "Climb Against the Odds." She showed a shortened version of the documentary to the audience.
Ms. Castimore made her climb three years after being diagnosed for metastatic breast cancer. She modestly described her team as "ordinary women on an extra-ordinary journey."
Theresa Chorlton, President of Cybis, the nation's oldest porcelain art studio, presented Ms. Castimore with a hand-decorated cluster of porcelain roses adorned with a pink ribbon. Cybis has generously offered to donate part of the proceeds from sales of the roses to the Kimmel Cancer Center.Both Mrs. Chorlton and her husband, Joseph, are cancer survivors treated at Jefferson University Hospital.
Other features of the event were displays of art and poetry by survivors and music by Los Hermanos Unidos and Celtic Women.
In addition to the Kimmel Cancer Center, the event was sponsored by Amgen, Inc., Novartis, Berlex, Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Women's Board of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Robert Neroni Photography