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Healthwise: Celebration of Life 2011

March 23, 2011

Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been living cancer free for years, the Celebration of Life event allows everyone to come together.

"This is really a celebration of getting through those challenges and beginning to live life again to the fullest," said Suzanne Hilton-Smith, a Chaplin for Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Hilton-Smith works with patients and families at the cancer center. She has seen the impact of the disease and of the treatment and says the event gives people something to focus on other than cancer.

"It makes everybody happy. It's a great sense of satisfaction even for people who for them cancer is a chronic illness," said Smith.

From music to fun photos, the gathering serves as a chance for people to come out and celebrate life.

"Most people that have been ill will tell you that their perspective on life changes and ordinary things become a lot more precious, so this is a chance to share some of those things, " said Smith.

The event is not only helpful for patients, it is also beneficial for caregivers.

"I think the people it's best for are the inpatient nurses and the folks who are in crisis, because after doing that for many years and seeing the people who are having the worst symptoms they sometimes find it hard to remember how many people survive and live and thrive afterward," explained Smith.

Smith adds that the Celebration of Life event is about being there for one another, and being able to exchange stories, while having fun and providing hope to those living with cancer.

The event will take place Sunday, March 27 at the Martha Jefferson Outpatient Care Center on Pantops from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. To register call Health Connection at 434-654-7009.


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