The annual Cancer Survivors Day celebration gets bigger every year. More people are interested, the party is more elaborate – and each year, there are more people surviving the dreaded disease.
“It’s a celebration,” Stacy Kindall said. “We want to celebrate their perseverance, their cancer survivorship milestones.”
Kindall serves as survivorship program coordinator for Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute. She is responsible for organizing the annual celebration.
There were 682 guests at last year’s event, which was held at Upward Star Center in Spartanburg to accommodate the ever-growing crowd. In years past, the celebration was held at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium.
“We were just growing so much,” Kindall said. “We needed more space.”
It’s a good “problem” to have … one that expands to everyday life at Gibbs. Over the years, oncologists and other cancer care professionals have gotten better at fighting the disease. The tools have drastically improved, and more sophisticated screening equipment makes it easier to detect cancer earlier.
In other words, we’re catching cancer earlier, and we’re treating it more effectively.
“As technology is advancing, our patients are living longer,” Kindall said.
Cancer survivorship has become such a large area of study that it is officially part of the “curriculum of care.” Gibbs hosts survivorship clinics, health and wellness support groups, exercise classes for survivors and more. It also houses a cancer care boutique for women who have undergone mastectomies, called That Special Look.
This June 10 will mark Gibbs’s 22nd Cancer Survivors Day celebration.
For Kindall, the event is special because it gives those who work at Gibbs the chance to see the people they have treated – and to celebrate with them.
“It gives us all a chance to see how far everyone has come,” Kindall said.
Kindall first joined the event as a co-chair in 2012, during an internship at Gibbs as she earned her master of public health degree.
Each year is unique – in 2014, survivors were “Strong to Win the Race,” and in 2015 they “Beat The Odds” in a casino-themed party. Survivors loved 2016’s cruise theme, and were “Wild About A Cure,” with a safari theme in 2017.
This year, Gibbs survivors will “Strike Out Cancer” in 2018’s baseball theme.
Gibbs Cancer Survivors Day 2018 will be held June 10 from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. at Upward Star Center in Spartanburg.
Cancer survivors are welcome to bring three guests; the event is free and registration is not required.