This year, the 29th annual National Cancer Survivors Day will be observed on Sunday, June 5. It was created to recognize and celebrate the lives of cancer survivors and to offer hope and inspiration to those recently diagnosed.
The American Cancer Society estimates that there are nearly 14.5 million cancer survivors living in the United States, and that number keeps growing. As research develops more treatment options, and screening protocols uncover more cancers at earlier stages, that means more people are able to survive cancer for longer periods of time. National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual opportunity to celebrate the lives saved and remember the lives lost, and it’s also an opportunity for survivors to acknowledge those who stood by them and helped during treatment. There are some ways survivors and their caregivers can recognize this day.
Say Thank You
Celebrate the day by thanking those who were there for you. Stop by the cancer center and say “Hi” to the nurses and the rest of the team who were right there with you through your treatment. Let them know how you’re doing. Throw a party for family members and friends who helped out during that difficult time. Who watched your children? Who scrubbed the toilet? Who provided meals or rides to treatment? This is a wonderful time to connect with each of those people. If you don’t want to throw a party, you can write to them. They would cherish a letter from you expressing your gratitude.
Pay It Forward
One way to pay it forward is to organize a scarf and blanket collection to give to your cancer center. You could also use what you learned during your treatment to help others. Share your story on social media or a blog. Publish the story of your cancer experience and how you got through it while providing helpful tips and encouragement to those who are newly diagnosed. Go back to your support group and motivate fellow group members who are still in treatment. It can be encouraging talking to someone who is doing well a few years after treatment when you’re just starting your own regimen.
Celebrate being alive by running or walking in a 5K fun run or hiring a yoga instructor and planning a yoga event in the park. Yoga and other types of exercise can be wonderful, life-affirming ways to mindfully connect with your body. Doing it outdoors in the park on a beautiful day is a wonderful expression of being alive. Another great way to celebrate your life and your survival is to surround yourself with things that were important to you during treatment. Collect all the mementos from your cancer treatment and place them in a box. Bury it in your backyard like a time capsule. You can dig it up on the next survivors day.
National Cancer Survivors Day is not only for those who have completed their cancer treatment. Many cancer survivors are living with metastatic disease or types of cancer that are treated as a chronic condition rather than with a treatment plan with a defined end date. The day is for them as well. It’s important to understand that not every cancer survivor or caregiver will feel like celebrating this day. Some just won’t feel well enough to be social. Some would rather avoid anything cancer-related. Everyone grieves and heals in different ways, and that’s OK. Learn more about survivorship and find tools and resources for survivors and loved ones.
Share your story! We want to know about each and every survivor who is out there. This day is for you.Learn More