A Celebration of Life

June 28, 2015

joanJoan Duff, a four-year cancer survivor from Utica, NY, said it was wonderful that she had the chance to celebrate her survivorship with some of the staff of the Bassett Cancer Institute who helped her navigate the emotional and physical challenges a cancer diagnosis entails.

Over 200 cancer survivors and their families and caregivers gathered at the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown June 7 for a celebration of life that occurred at events around the country held that same Sunday, National Cancer Survivors Day.

“I saw my doctor there and a nurse that cared for me. It was just a wonderful celebration,” remarked Duff, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and is now cancer free. “The event is a great way of helping cancer survivors understand that there is life ahead after the diagnosis, and I thank God for Bassett. I’m a nurse and I can tell you the care I received was outstanding. The staff is so compassionate and understanding.”

Every year in June, the Bassett Cancer Institute invites patients and their families to celebrate their survivorship milestones by enjoying an afternoon of great food, friendship and entertainment.

Chief of Oncology Dr. James Leonardo said, “Cancer treatment has advanced greatly, even in just the last decade. People are living longer and enjoying a better quality of life after cancer. The Cancer Institute takes this opportunity each year to honor and celebrate our patients’ achievements and show that life after cancer can be meaningful and joyful.”

Laura Shipp, of the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation (NCSD) noted, “Among U.S. adults, the five-year relative survival rate for all cancers combined is now approximately 68 percent. In 1987, the year that NCSD began, that number was just 56 percent.”

One of the most popular activities at Bassett’s annual celebration of life is always the basket raffle, which featured over a dozen baskets created by members of the Bassett Cancer Institute staff. The baskets contained all kinds of items donated by local businesses and craftspeople.

National Cancer Survivors Day (NCSD) is an annual worldwide Celebration of Life honoring everyone who is living with a history of cancer – including America’s 14 million cancer survivors. “A ‘survivor’ is anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life,” according to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, administrator for the celebration.

About Bassett

Bassett Healthcare Network is an integrated health care system that provides care and services to people living in a 5,600 square mile region in upstate New York. The organization includes six corporately affiliated hospitals, as well as two skilled nursing facilities, over 40 community and school-based health centers and various health partners in related fields. To learn more about services available throughout the Bassett Healthcare Network, visit www.bassett.org. Follow Bassett on Facebook and Twitter at facebook.com/Bassett.Network and twitter.com/BassettNetwork

Photo: Cancer survivor Joan Duff of Utica, NY, attended Bassett’s Cancer Survivors Day celebration and won a pair of tickets to Stagecoach Coffee in Cooperstown.

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