Local

Group celebrates 12th annual Cancer Survivors Day locally

By Steve Palisin

spalisin@thesunnews.com

A crowd celebrates Cancer Survivors Day in Myrtle Beach last year. The 2015 event, with a“Stars of Hope” theme, is noon-3 p.m. Sunday in Myrtle Beach’s Base Recreation Center, near Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s Grand Strand Campus and The Market Common.
A crowd celebrates Cancer Survivors Day in Myrtle Beach last year. The 2015 event, with a“Stars of Hope” theme, is noon-3 p.m. Sunday in Myrtle Beach’s Base Recreation Center, near Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s Grand Strand Campus and The Market Common. Courtesy photo

Cancer can have the boot, the door, the exit, the eviction, and the escort to a one-way trip out of this world.

That’s why the Coastal Cancer Center and Carolina Cancer Foundation will have their 12th annual Cancer Survivors Day, “Stars of Hope,” noon -3 p.m. Sunday in Myrtle Beach’s Base Recreation Center, 800 Garbreski Lane, off Pampas Drive, near Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s Grand Strand Campus and The Market Common.

Everyone who has survived, or not given up the fight against, cancer is welcome to join in this local celebration as part of the 28th annual event by the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, which counts more than 13 million such survivors, defined as anyone “with a history of cancer,” a spectrum spanning from diagnosis through one’s remaining lifetime. Reservations are requested as soon as possible at 429-5054.

Lauren Bourlier, digital strategist and medical outreach coordinator for Coastal Cancer Center, tallked about the depth of planning for this special day every year and how its foundation “puts on the event.” The practice’s oncologists and staff are spread among four offices – in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Loris and Murrells Inlet – with most clientele coming from Horry, Georgetown and Brunswick counties.

Also, cancer affects almost all people in some way, directly or through family and friends, on a journey involving multiple people in each case.

Question | How thick is the teamwork to prepare for Cancer Survivors Day, a national tradition that has taken its own local special touch?

Answer | This is our annual event that we put on ourselves, and there’s a lot that goes into it ... from the community.

Q. | Does the setting for this celebration shift every year?

A. | Every year it’s in a different place. Last year, it was at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, and in 2013, it was at Marina Inn at Grande Dunes. It goes all over the place, but this year, we’re doing things a little smaller, ... with more of a focus on bringing in more survivors and patients. The Base Rec Center site holds about 300 people, ... so we’ll probably come pretty close to filling it up this year. Last year, it was about that size.

Q. | Just how wide is that welcome mat?

A. | It’s not necessary to be a patient of Coastal Cancer Center; it’s open to the public, anyone in the community who has had cancer, has cancer, has battled it – anything like that – because they are all cancer survivors, regardless of whether someone is going through treatment, or has completed treatment and the cancer’s in remission. Theere are a lot of people living in the world who are survivors.

Q. | What types of cancer have become more prevalent that Coastal Cancer Center sees in its clientele?

A. | Breast cancer is a big one. ... and skin cancer. ... Our guest speaker: She lives locally, and she will speak about her battle against breast cancer and surviving it.

Q. | What other steps go into making each celebration special for everyone in attendance?

A. | We have a different theme every year. This year, the theme is “Stars of Hope.” We go all out in decorations, and it’s going to be a big Hollywood theme. Some of the people who come will be dressed up. ... Last year, it was “Give Cancer the Boot,” and it was all country themed. ... This year, we’ll give little trophies, kind of like an Oscar or Grammy Award trophy.

Q. | What other components make up such a gathering for a memorable afternoon?

A. | We also serve lunch to everyone and have dessert, and then introduce our speaker. ... Also, we make up different themed-baskets, which have gift cards and things from a spa night to a beer-and-barbecue, ... and all different kinds of items, ... and we raffle them off and we give them away as door prizes to cancer survivors. All the gifts in the baskets are donated. It’s always fun with a ton of things for giving away .... all kinds of goodies. We have a lot of local companies that donate gift cards, and some give monetary donations, which we use to buy things for the baskets.

Q. | With the reality of cancer posing a never-ending challenge to so many people of any age, do the heartbeats in everyone assisting with rendering of treatment services get heavy, all year long, and for Cancer Survivors Day?

A. | I think so. A lot of the people come with their caregivers, because they’re going through the battle, too, just in a different way. Every survivor brings a guest with them, it could be their caregiver, or a husband, wife, daughter or sister. It’s a celebration for them as well.

Q. | What goes without saying, or at least remains atop one’s head in encouraging, and empathizing with, someone coping with cancer?

A. | We see so many people come in and go through the treatment, and after a couple of months or however long, they want to beat it and fight it. It’s really nice to see that. We emphasize ways to just to keep your spirits up, and stay positive, and be reminded that you can fight it.

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.

If you go

What | 12th annual Cancer Survivors Day, part of the 28th annual National Cancer Survivors Day.

By | Coastal Cancer Center – with offices in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Loris and Murrells Inlet – and Carolina Cancer Foundation.

For | Anyone battling or who has beaten cancer, and an accompanying guest.

When | Noon-3 p.m. Sunday

Where | Myrtle Beach’s Base Recreation Center, 800 Garbreski Lane, off Pampas Drive, near Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s Grand Strand Campus and The Market Common.

How much | Free

Reservations | Requested as soon as possible at 429-5054.

More information | On Coastal Cancer Center:

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