CCSN celebrated National Cancer Survivors Day on June 7, 2020
On Sunday, June 7, 2020, the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network marked the 33rd annual National Cancer Survivors Day® Celebration of Life – the day set aside each year to recognize cancer survivors, raise awareness of the ongoing challenges cancer survivors face because of their disease, and celebrate life.
In previous years, the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network was invited to gather with cancer patients, survivors and caregivers in the office of Ottawa mayor Jim Watson to celebrate the more than one million cancer survivors living in Canada today. Each year Mayor Watson shared his own experiences and presented CCSN with a plaque proclaiming National Cancer Survivors Month in Ottawa.
This year, because of COVID-19, we celebrated at a distance, but we still wanted to stress that more cancer patients survive cancer because of early diagnosis and improved treatment. “We celebrate life,” said Jackie Manthorne, President & CEO of CCSN. “But we also realize that cancer survivors may suffer from sporadic or lifelong side effects of cancer and its treatment. As a cancer survivor organization, we are working toward raising awareness of the need for cancer rehabilitation services and the establishment of these services across Canada.”
Here’s what some cancer survivors told us:
“Being a survivor means that I have had the reset button pushed on my life. I see things differently and appreciate things now more than ever. It also means that I’ve been given the chance to help others going through this disease by telling my success story.” Jeff from Toronto
“As a 16-year cancer survivor, through four sets of chemo and a stem cell transplant, I now find it to be of critical importance to stay fit. This helps me slow down my diseases’ progress and helps me maintain an excellent quality of life. Our pandemic lockdown has even given me the time to publish a YouTube video outlining how cancer patients can best obtain the benefits of moderate exercise at https://youtu.be/gcynOKhe9LI, with a quickie overview version at https://youtu.be/sZYIBmHLUvc for people who want to zip through to see if the longer version would be of interest.” Murray from Ottawa
“As a survivor of bladder cancer, and as national chair of Bladder Cancer Canada, I am inspired by the patient community that surrounds me through their passion and determination to support each other and make a difference in the fight against bladder cancer. Together we are committed to a vision to create a world where bladder cancer is just a memory.” Ferg from Toronto
“After the diagnosis, I learned to live, laugh and love to the best of my ability. I do not think about the cancer returning or else I might just as well have died four years ago. So keep your chin up, put one foot in front of the other, and be as kind to people as you can. Prayers don’t hurt either! Good luck to all of us and fight the good fight!” Susan from Saanich, BC
About cancer survivorship
With more than 32 million cancer survivors worldwide, everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by cancer. On Sunday, June 7, 2020, people around the world cam together to acknowledge these cancer survivors, and to raise awareness of the challenges of cancer survivorship, as part of the 33rd annual National Cancer Survivors Day®.
About National Cancer Survivors Day
National Cancer Survivors Day® is an annual worldwide Celebration of Life that is held on the first Sunday in June. It is a day to recognize cancer survivors, raise awareness of the ongoing challenges cancer survivors face because of their disease, and – most importantly – celebrate life.
According to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, administrator for the celebration, a ‘survivor’ is anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life.
“When people hear the words ‘you have cancer,’ it can be very frightening,” says Foundation spokesperson, Laura Shipp. “But there is hope. Today’s cancer survivors are living longer, better quality lives than ever before. National Cancer Survivors Day® gives these survivors – and those who support them – a special day each year to celebrate life and to show the world that you can have a good life after a cancer diagnosis.
“NCSD is also a call to action. Cancer survivors face ongoing, often long-lasting, hardships because of their disease. On National Cancer Survivors Day®, we want to raise awareness of the many challenges of cancer survivorship and advocate for further research, more resources, and increased public awareness to improve the lives of cancer survivors.”
Due to COVID-19, many of the public events scheduled to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day® were cancelled. However, that didn’t mean that the celebration was cancelled. Survivors were able to connect with cancer survivors and supporters around the world by using the hashtag #NCSD2020 and following National Cancer Survivors Day® on Facebook (Facebook.com/CancerSurvivorsDay), Instagram (@cancersurvivorsday), and Twitter (@survivorsday).
In addition, many communities and cancer organizations took their NCSD celebrations online or hosting socially distanced events.
As the number of cancer survivors continues to grow, it is becoming ever more important to address the unique needs of this population. In addition to facing a serious illness, cancer survivors must contend with rapidly rising drug costs, inadequate insurance coverage, difficulty finding or keeping employment, and ongoing physical, psychological, and financial struggles that persist even after treatment ends.
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network and the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation urge everyone to spread the message that life after cancer is something worth celebrating, and that a better quality of life for cancer survivors is worth fighting for.