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Celebrating cancer survivorship all week long

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Cancersurvivorsweek.jpgThis post is part of our Survivorship Week series, June 2-9.

I'm a survivor, he's a survivor and she's a survivor, too.

MD Anderson will transform itself into Survivorship Central June 2-9, all in observance of National Survivorship Day. We'll have an entire week of events and activities.

I'll be there, too, celebrating my own survivorship. On June 2, I will be three years, two months and one day out from my diagnosis of brain cancer. When someone tells you that you have an oligodendroglioma, believe me, every day counts. So, yes, I'll be celebrating.

The week kicks off with a loud vroommmmm when the Riders for the Cure, MD Anderson's motorcycle riders group, holds its annual Ride for Life on Saturday, June 2. Funds raised from this event support educational programs for survivors and their families at MD Anderson's Anderson Network Survivorship Conference held each September.

If you're at MD Anderson or its regional care centers in the Bay Area, Sugar Land, Katy and The Woodlands during Survivorship Week, you'll see shades of the survivorship green and purple all over the place ― balloon sculptures, banners, buttons and even candy will wear these theme colors.

Activities and educational sessions

All week long, there will be numerous activities commemorating survivors. Free massages are scheduled at various locations around the institution, and those who are feeling crafty will enjoy origami, collage and stamping sessions in The Aquarium.

There are scarf-tying demonstrations, a photo booth to capture the day and balloon twisting for kids both old and young. You'll also hear sounds of survivorship from various musicians, including the Celebration Singers, MD Anderson's survivor choir.

MD Anderson has a full range of survivor-related educational sessions planned, too. You might be wondering about nutrition after cancer, how to ramp up your attitude or how to deal with appearance issues during cancer treatment and beyond. There are sessions to cover all of these topics and more.

In addition, the annual CancerCare Survivorship Series: Living With, Through & Beyond Cancer, will present a pre-recorded podcast on Recapturing Joy and Finding Meaning. After this educational forum, MD Anderson experts will host a live Q  &  A session.

In the middle of the week, June 6, take a breather for Anderson Network's Day Away to see the Houston Astros vs. the St. Louis Cardinals at Minute Maid Park. Call 713-792-2553 for first-come, first-served tickets.

The week concludes with the first Cancer180 Survivorship Symposium for young adult patients, survivors and caregivers ages 18-39. To RSVP, email Cancer180@mdanderson.org or call 800-345-6324.

Reason to rejoice
This is a time to celebrate survivors and their caregivers, a time to learn more about cancer survivorship and a time to feel thankful for the care and treatment provided by this great institution.

Today, there are more than 10 million cancer survivors in the United States. One out of every six people  older than 65 is a cancer survivor, and 1.4 million were diagnosed more than 20 years ago. Earlier detection, improved treatments and the supportive care of family and friends all contribute to the growing numbers of cancer survivors.

These are numbers that MD Anderson, its faculty and staff and, of course, its patients all have reason to rejoice about. Join me in the celebration and stop by to pin on a special survivor button. After all, I'm a survivor ― and so are you!

For more information about the Survivorship Week schedule, including times, dates and locations, please visit MD Anderson's survivorship website.

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