On Sunday afternoon, "hope" will come to those suffering from cancer and those who have survived during the Conway Cancer Foundation’s Cancer Survivor Day. The event runs from 2-4 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall.
The theme for the event is "Garden of Hope."
According to Chris Bridwell, chair of the event, the theme is always a message of hope.
The event is a celebration of survivalship, she said.
Bridwell is in her second year as the chair of the event. Her husband is a cancer survivor. "It gives us something to celebrate," Bridwell said.
One of the meaningful activities at the event is the signing of the "survivors board," that will hang in Dr. Sue Tsuda’s office after the event.
Bridwell said the board is meaningful because it helps them determine how long it has been since they were diagnosed.
"The key thing is five years," Bridwell said. "It is definitive of a cure."
Bridwell said when patients come to Tsuda’s office, they see the names of the survivors in the clinic. On this year’s sign additional spots will be available for new survivors to sign even after the event.
Another activity will be designing a square to be included in the 2009 survivor’s quilt. After the event, the quilt will be fabricated.
"It is a celebration for everyone," Bridwell said, noting that not only just survivors are honored, but also those who have died and those who have been caregivers to patients.
The event also offers music by the Conway High School Jazz Band and stories told by cancer survivors Frank Jones and Virgie Tsuda. "It will be a light-hearted celebration. They will see old friends and make new ones," Bridwell said.
The foundation offers emotional support as well as financial support if needed. Bridwell said if a patient suffers hardships such as not being able to drive home from a treatment or not being able to pay bills because of treatment, the organization will offer support. "We offer support throughout the treatment," Bridwell said. One fundraiser that supports the organization is the Charlie Stroud Golf Tournament, held in memory of Charlie Stroud of Mayflower. Bridwell said approximately $23,000 has been raised through the tournament.
The Conway Cancer Foundation was created 10 years ago and is not affiliated with other cancer organizations such as the American Cancer Society. Bridwell said the foundation offers encouragement and support to patients as they are treated by the doctors at Conway Hematology/Oncology. The organization was created by Dr. Sue Tsuda and Dr. Pietro DeTogni. Bridwell emphasized there is no paid staff. The organization is run by volunteers.