My wife/caregiver and I (that’s me under the mask) were part of a caravan of survivors in Louisville, Ky., on National Cancer Survivors Day, June 7, 2020. The Lady Birds cheerleaders greeted us and the mood was festive and fun, with bags of swag and musical entertainment. Cars were festooned with balloons and streamers, and upbeat handwritten signs.
My messages were, “Hope, healing and helping others” and “Love, faith and compassion.” I felt privileged and fortunate to be able to attend, being a survivor for 5 ½ years. There were times I didn’t think I would make it this far, but those times are in the dark past.
These five-plus years have given me the opportunity to be a cancer patient advocate through blogging and writing a book dedicated to all of the selfless caregivers in our lives.
During this special day, it was splendid to get out my self-imposed isolation for just 30 minutes to revel in the moment and see fellow survivors frolic like little children.
Yes, we all live with cancer, but for this occasion took a moment to celebrate life beyond cancer. This occasion to me means joy and gratitude. Joy to be alive and sharing the precious moments with new friends and their families traveling this journey. And gratitude that others value us enough to put on this event so that we could mingle and meet and press onward with purpose.
I especially liked seeing the Louie the Cardinal Bird, the mascot for the University of Louisville athletics program. Thanks to UofL Health, the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and the Kentucky Cancer Program for sponsoring the get-together. ‘Preciate you all!
And, by the way, I plan to be back next year!
(Note: Thanks to Abigail, a fellow cancer survivor, for planting the seed for this post. Warmest wishes to you, Abigail!)
© Ron Cooper 2020