An Opportunity for Cancer Survivors to Connect

survivorship flowerIn the past two decades, the cancer death rate in the United States has dropped 25 percent, which equals 2.1 million fewer cancer deaths. Today, there are more than 15.5 million cancer survivors in the U.S. But cancer care doesn’t end when treatment ends. In its wake, cancer leaves a host of physical, emotional, and financial hardships that often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. From denial of insurance coverage, difficulty finding jobs and economic burdens, to emotional struggles that include strains on personal relationships and the fear of cancer recurrence, cancer survivors face a set of unique challenges.

Comfort and support can often be found in connecting with others who are on their own cancer journeys. This is the purpose behind the Cancer Survivorship Celebration hosted by the Miller-Dwan Foundation in partnership with its Caring Ways Cancer Resource Center in Duluth, MN.

The 3rd annual event, which coincides with National Cancer Survivors Month, is June 7 from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. at Clyde Iron Works. Free to survivors of all ages, as well as their families and caregivers, the event creates a sense of unity around a shared experience. “We want survivors and their families to know that no one fights alone; we are all here together,” says Colleen Baggs, Caring Ways program manager. “This is an opportunity to celebrate who you are and how far you’ve come.”

This year, artists from the Duluth non-profit Project Lulu will lead several immersive art activities. Participants will work with magnetic tiles to create an artistic representation of the spark that exists within them. The tiles will then be pieced together, forming a larger portrait to be displayed near the Caring Ways Cancer Center.

Funded by the Miller-Dwan Foundation and located in the Essentia Health First Street Building, the Caring Ways Cancer Resource Center helps all survivors deal with the physical, psychological, social and spiritual impacts of cancer that arise at any stage in their journeys. An extensive lending library is filled with books, brochures, DVDs and on-line resources. The center offers a mentor program, support groups, drop-in classes and a quarterly newsletter.

To register for the June 7 event, call Baggs at 218-786-3581, or email her at colleen.baggs@essentiahealth.org.