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Winthrop University Hospital

12th Annual Cancer Survivors Day Celebrates Life

A poignant and inspiring celebration of life, Winthrop-University Hospital’s 12th Annual Cancer Survivors Day was attended by nearly 400 cancer survivors, their loved ones and Winthrop staff. Held at the Long Island Marriott on June 2, the life-affirming event gathered all in a spirit of camaraderie and joy.

“It is your courage and persistence in complying with our often rigorous treatments that inspire and motivate us,” said Harry Staszewski, MD, Chief of the Division of Oncology/Hematology at Winthrop, and the evening’s keynote speaker. “Every year we look forward to this evening as a chance to share your joy, to meet with your families and watch you interact with others who have shared the same experiences. Your stories of how you now look forward to attending soccer games, graduations, weddings, family reunions, births of grandchildren or just going to the store are heartwarming.”

The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation defines a “survivor” as anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life. The annual celebration applauds the resilience of the human spirit, as well as recognizes the significant strides made in the fight against cancer.

Dr. Staszewski also thanked Winthrop’s Administration and Board of Directors for their support in pursuing a plan for the aggressive expansion of the cancer program’s facilities, services and personnel over the next five years. In treating cancer, he indicated that “as exemplified by your large attendance tonight, the outcomes will be increasingly positive, the diagnosis less feared, the treatments more and more successful, and the side effects less harsh.”

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15-2Jeffrey Schneider, MD, Director of the Lung Cancer Center at Patricia Schussler, LMSW, Division of Oncology/Hematology at Winthrop (back row, second from right) shares the joy of the evening with members of her support group at the Hospital’s Cancer Survivors Day celebration.

Winthrop, treated Margaret Mathis, who related her story of survival to more than 400 guests at the Hospital’s annual Cancer Survivors Day celebration.

Guest speaker and cancer survivor Margaret Mathis shared her story of survival and hope. First diagnosed with melanoma in 2001 and then in July 2003 with Stage IIIA nonsmall cell lung cancer, over the course of her journey Mrs. Mathis endured surgeries, rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. She praised her doctors and the support given to her by the entire Winthrop Cancer Care Team.

“Here I stand, years later,” she said. “I have learned so much from this experience and have met the most amazing people along the way.”

The mother of three grown children, Kelly, Brian and Michael, Mrs. Mathis happily reported that since her diagnosis, her daughter has gotten married and is now expecting a child – the first grandchild in the family. Her son, Michael, was also getting married in July – another happy event. “This is what survivorship means to me,” she said. She thanked her children and her husband, Bruce, who “has been with me on the journey every step of the way.”

In addition to the dinner celebration, which included dancing and raffle prizes, Winthrop’s Institute for Cancer Care sponsored an educational Cancer Survivors Workshop on June 22. The workshop addressed cancer survivorship issues, stress management and how sleep impacts survivorship.

The Institute for Cancer Care offers the latest developments in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of cancers. The Institute’s multidisciplinary staff closely collaborates in order to offer the most appropriate medical and support services for patients.

For information about the Institute for Cancer Care, visit www.winthrop.org or call 1-866-WINTHROP
Vol. 20, No. 2
Summer/Fall 2010

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