LIMA — Camaraderie, hope and compassion were celebrated Thursday during a National Cancer Survivors Day event in Lima.
Lima Memorial Health System held its 2019 National Cancer Survivors Day at the Old Barn Out Back in Lima. It is an annual celebration of life for those who have prevailed and survived a cancer diagnosis. In addition the event was a form of inspiration for those who have been recently diagnosed with cancer. This year marks the 25th year for celebrating the survivors day in Lima, according to Cheryl Nagy, Lima Memorial director of oncology services.
“Tonight we are celebrating survivorship by getting together,” Nagy said. “It is truly an inspiration to be surrounded by numerous individuals who have battled or are currently battling a cancer diagnosis.”
Door prizes were available that related to the night’s theme that included bird feeders, picture frames and gift certificates to local businesses.
Attendees received bags with soil and flower seeds to plant in flower pots and a Coping With Cancer magazine and information about National Cancer Survivors Day.
The theme for the event was “Planting Hope” where cancer survivors and their families picked out flower pots that had flowers drawn on them and they could use paint and markers to decorate the pots.
Lois Morrisey, 74, and her niece, Tammy Schaefer, 50, both of Lima, are breast cancer survivors and attended Thursday’s event.
Morrisey was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 during a routine exam when she had a mammogram. She was told by doctors to return in six months as they saw something, but did not know what it was. Six months later she returned to the doctor when a biopsy was performed and she was told she had breast cancer in her left breast.
“I was divorced and my son was living in Columbus and I was by myself and it was devastating to learn I had breast cancer,” Morrisey said. She saw a surgeon and had breast cancer surgery in August 2005 and had four rounds of chemo before her surgery. She stressed the importance of women getting mammograms to help detect breast cancer.
Schaefer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 at age 43 after she had been off work for neck surgery and her physical therapist discovered a lump on her right breast while giving her a massage on her rib cage.
Schaefer’s mother Janice died in 2002 from breast cancer.
“I had a mammogram that did not detect breast cancer, but the ultrasound did,” Schaefer said. She had triple negative breast cancer, which means her cancer was not hormone driven. Six months later she underwent four months of chemo and when she almost hit her five-year mark of being cancer-free she was told the cancer returned in November 2016. She had surgery to remove the new tumor and had chemo followed by 6-1/2 weeks of radiation. She had a double mastectomy in 2011.
Both Schaefer and Morrisey said their faith and confiding in each other has helped them get through their journeys with breast cancer.
The cancer survivors who attended Thursdays event will get together again on June 21 at 6 p.m. at Spartan Stadium for Lima Relay For Life.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.