A special event was held this evening by our local American Cancer Society recognizing cancer survivors and caregivers. And a real nice thing that the ACS does, is recognize everyone from the minute of a diagnosis as a cancer survivor, not just done with treatments.
As a sort of pep rally, the local ACS held a “Harmony Of Hope” concert featuring three different groups of performers. Of course, as I have stated, I love music, and I consider music one of the best forms of relaxation. It was a simple evening really, although I am certain a ton of effort went into the planning and function of the event.
And then, came the recognitions and what were two very surreal moments for me. I had made the assumption before even arriving, that the audience would be fairly split between survivors and supporters. But when a host asked all the survivors to stand, probably close to seventy-five percent were standing. And then the host stated, “for those survivors of 10 years, remain standing,” then it was fifteen, and more people began to sit. Then twenty and most sat.
Then came 25. And only two were left standing. I was speechless that in this full room, only myself and one other person was still standing. As it turns out, the other survivor was 47 years into her survival. Even for a long termer like me, it was inspiring.
But then the host asked for caregivers to stand. This has also been a role I have served, and really have never paid attention to just how long. I have only really concentrated on surviving cancer, not how many people I have helped, or how long. Tonight, I realized that I have been a caregiver of cancer patients, survivors, and their families and friends for twenty-five years also.
And I remember each and every person from Jennifer (see “Jennifer’s Story” on the pages section of “Paul’s Heart”) to my father. I have worked with well over a hundred patients, survivors, caregivers, friends and families.
I have less than two weeks until I officially turn 25… again. Maybe this is really a big deal after all.