05/02/05 — Cancer survivors to be honored at Cancer Society banquet

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Cancer survivors to be honored at Cancer Society banquet

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on May 2, 2005 1:46 PM

Wayne County's cancer survivors will be honored at a banquet May 12 at 6 p.m. at the First Pentecostal Holiness Church.

The 12th annual Cancer Survivor's Banquet is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and Southeastern Medical Oncology Center. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. It is free to cancer survivors and one guest each.

Cliff and Helen Harwood are the organizers.

Sunburst will provide a light meal.

Jimmie Ford will be this year's master of ceremonies. Entertainment will be by Potter's Clay. Ed Ezzell, a cancer survivor, will talk about his experiences with the disease.

There will also be door prizes. During the banquet, the youngest and oldest cancer survivors will be recognized.

The American Cancer Society will provide a light purple T-shirt for each survivor.

Harwood said the T-shirt is to recognize those who are survivors. They are being encouraged to wear their T-shirts at the Relay event May 13-14 at Wayne Community College.

He said the banquet was first held on National Cancer Day in June, but it seemed only natural to combine it with the Relay for Life event in May.

About 600 people attended last year. They are expecting about that many again this year.

"Survivors get encouragement from the banquet," Mrs. Harwood said. "Those attending who are just going through treatments see that large a number of survivors together, and it gives them hope to continue on.

"We hear so much about cancer and death that to see 200 to 400 people together who have survived it is just so uplifting."

Harwood said the banquet also lets survivors know they are not going through the battle alone. "Many people feel, when they get that diagnosis, that they are receiving a death sentence," he said.

"In some cases that's true. But we're finding that the survival rate now has increased dramatically over the past several years. In fact, the hope for a meaningful life after diagnosis has made such an impact in our society. Perhaps three out of four are now surviving beyond the five-year period."

Mrs. Harwood describes the banquet as a "celebration of life. It'll bring tears to your eyes. It's very heartwarming to see that many cancer survivors together.

"Cancer survivors are heroes because of the battles that they have fought. They have an inner strength that I've never seen anywhere else."