|Above: Celebrating Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia’s survivors are (from left to right) Millie Valentin, clerk, Cancer Center; Yolonda McLeod, administrative coordinator, Cancer Center; Amia and Karimah of Philly Hindi Dance Group; and Kathy Pincus, tumor registry supervisor, Cancer Center.|
Every day, courageous survivors walk the halls of Einstein Healthcare Network.
Who are these survivors? They are anyone living with a history of cancer—from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life. And the physicians and staff of the Cancer Care Programs at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia and Einstein Medical Center Montgomery are honored to be a part of their lives.
In recognition of National Cancer Survivors Day—an annual celebration of life honoring individuals for their strength and courage—Einstein patients, both current and past, are treated to events in their honor.
In June, more than 225 survivors and their caregivers gathered in the Gouley Auditorium of Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia for a “Survivor’s Fiesta.” While Latin-themed, the celebration featured a mixture of musical styles: Dr. Mark Morginstin, medical oncologist, played “Amazing Grace” on his trumpet to open the festivities; survivor Naomi Faison sang an a capella version of “Oh Happy Day” that brought the house down; and Estillo Dance Company performed and taught the crowd how to salsa dance.
“It was such a festive event!” said Tracy Kane, patient navigator and one of the event’s organizers. “From the music and dancing to [Chair of Medical Oncology] Dr. [William] Tester’s touching closing remarks, it was really emotional for both staff and attendees alike.”
The event, which is proudly sponsored by The Iris Fund and Harry Schwartz Family, also featured “What Being a Survivor Means to Me,” where survivors shared their personal experiences.
The following Monday, the Cancer Care Program at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery hosted more than 130 survivors and loved ones for their celebration at the Silos Ballroom at Normandy Farms in Blue Bell.
Following a buffet dinner, Dr. William Biermann, medical director of Medical Oncology, and Dr. Robert Schiowitz, division head of General Surgery, presented patient Alfred Coughlin with the Survivor of the Year award. Mr. Coughlin shared his thoughts on his journey, the many different people involved in his care that meant so much in his recovery and the important role each functional area plays in caring for patients.
“A real highlight of the evening was Kathy Bello, a patient who wrote a cookbook [Recipe for Life] based on her experiences with cancer and how it shaped her outlook on life,” said Marc Schaller, MBA, DPT, Cancer Service Line Administrator. “She shared many personal stories and provided all attendees with a courtesy copy of her book ‘Recipe for Life’.”
Ms. Bello also shared a portion of her documentary, also titled Recipe for Life, which follows her journey as a cancer survivor. While she was initially reluctant to participate, she hopes that her experiences are able to touch at least one person and help change their outlook on life too. Click here to learn more information about Recipe for Life.
“It really was such a special day,” continued Schaller. “Our patients bring us so much inspiration and joy.”