SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – More than two hundred cancer survivors came together to celebrate life, at the 13th annual Cancer Survivor’s Day in Springfield. A life, that at one time, did not seem certain. “I was battling Breast cancer and I was just shocked to death. I never expected it,” said Sister Joyce Wise of Saint Joseph’s church in Springfield.
An unexpected scare that echos death. “Death and dying. When you hear the word cancer, you just think, it’s all negative. It just knocked me off my pens really,” Wise told 22News about her diagnosis. Sister Joyce was diagnosed with breast cancer, two days after her 74th birthday, last year.
The afternoon was filled with entertainment and inspiration. Survivors greeted one another with hugs.
All grateful for another year to celebrate together. Jose Garcia of Springfield told 22News, the event inspired him to keep fighting. “First of all, it gave me motivation and gives people motivation that when you’re diagnosed with cancer, life doesn’t end there.” Garcia said, he had several health scares before being diagnosed with cancer, but he’s a fighter.
They know first hand, what it means to celebrate life. “I made it and I’m celebrating my third year, as a cancer survivor,” Garcia told 22News.
Once a patient is cured, they’re not out of harm’s way. “It’s important for patients to keep in touch with their doctors and pay attention. I think one of the most difficult things for patients is to get beyond that diagnosis and get on with life,” said Dr. Maryann Lowen, Director of the Radiology Oncology at Mercy Medical Center’s Sister Caritas Cancer Center in Springfield.
The Sister Caritas Cancer Center recently celebrated the completion of a $15 million addition, which allows the cancer center to treat more patients.