Windham Area Residents Celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day
WILLIMANTIC, CT, June 6, 2008 – Residents of the Windham area gathered at Windham Hospital last Sunday to celebrate, to reflect, and to cheer on the many survivors of cancer and their families. “This event lifted the spirits of all who attended,” said Carol Palonen, RN, and NCSD coordinator for Windham Hospital. “It was a day filled with joy, camaraderie, hope, compassion, faith, and love.” The event—the third annual Celebration hosted by the Hospital—was sponsored by Eileen and Elizabeth Ossen, in memory of Jeffrey P. Ossen, and by the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Gina Barreca, well-known author and humorist, delivered the keynote address with humor and grace, and Hope Douglas, of “Wind over Wings” -- a program that uses rehabilitated golden and bald eagles to convey a message of hope and courage – introduced a screech owl, a bald eagle and a golden eagle to eager listeners. The afternoon was a “compelling and an extraordinary experience for all,” according to Palonen, and the music of The Willimantic Jazz Amphibian Ensemble, and vocalist Tre Johnson rounded out the afternoon.
A cancer survivor is defined by the NCSD Foundation as anyone living with a history of cancer, from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life. Approximately 10.5 million Americans are now living with and beyond a diagnosis of cancer. In the United States, almost half of all men and one-third of all women are expected to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Palonen comments, “We need to learn as much as possible about this disease because many forms of cancer can be prevented and most cured if detected early. Major advances in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment have resulted in longer survival, and therefore a growing number of cancer survivors. Despite the adversities they face, these people continue to show resilience by living active, productive lives,” says Carol Palonen RV NCSD Coordinator. “They face each day with courage and dignity in their fight against cancer and serve as an inspiration to all of us.”
PHOTO CAPTION: At left, Alyce Tipton performs a “make-over” on Kay Osyf in the American Cancer Society’s Look Good…Feel Better demonstration; center, Hope Douglas talks with Skywalker, a golden eagle from “Wind Over Wings;” at right, Gina Barreca served as keynote speaker for the event.