DESOTO—Today, Karla Baptiste, a breast cancer survivor from DeSoto, Texas, joined more than 100 fellow five-year cancer survivors at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) Chicago for its 31st annual Celebrate Life® event.
By 2040, it is estimated that there will be more than 26 million cancer survivors in the United States. As medical research and treatment options continue to advance, more people than ever are living as cancer survivors. Survivorship is the new frontier in cancer care. Hospitals like CTCA® Chicago offer an integrated care approach to help patients achieve a high quality of life.
Each June, Celebrate Life is an annual event that brings together both survivors and caregivers for empowerment and celebration. Survivors stand united to support one another, celebrate the moments they’ve gained and encourage others navigating their journey.
Survivors From Around The Country
At the hospital campus in Zion, Ill., the event officially started as the first of seven coach buses, filled with jubilant celebrants, caregivers and loved ones rolled to a stop in front of the hospital. As the doors opened, the eager passenger’s first step was on to a red carpet lined with hundreds of cheering families, friends, caregivers and hospital care team members.
After the red-carpet walk, Baptiste took part in a commemorative tree planting ceremony, symbolizing the wonder of life and growth. The 2019 Celebrate Life event marks the 31st year that a tree has been planted in honor of each five-year survivor in attendance, helping replenish and strengthen our nation’s landscape with a thriving forest of life-giving trees symbolic of cancer survivorship.
As an added level of significance to this year’s Celebrate Life, for the first time ever, all five CTCA hospitals, located in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Philadelphia, and Phoenix, hosted a local Celebrate Life event during the same week, where in total over 1,500 five-year cancer survivors were honored, representing 47 of 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
“I couldn’t be happier with the care I received at CTCA Chicago,” said Baptiste. “Through my journey, I’ve learned that we can’t fight properly if we’re afraid. I want to encourage others coping with similar struggles to let go of that fear and let faith take its place.”
Celebration, Hope & Reflection
As celebrants and their families enjoyed the festivities, they shared stories of survivorship with one another and took time to visit patients in the hospital who are currently going through their cancer journey, offering a traditional “Hope” pin coupled with words of support. Many also reflected on moments they have been able to share with their families and how they view life through a new lens due to their cancer journey. Before the day concluded, each celebrant was personally honored on stage, in front of and along with their fellow five-year survivors.
“Five years ago, this astounding group of cancer survivors came to Cancer Treatment Centers of America Chicago with a great sense of hope, searching for answers and innovative treatment options that fit their specific needs,” said Pete Govorchin, President and CEO, CTCA Chicago. “We’re proud to honor each celebrant’s strength and perseverance through their journey. Today is not only a testament to the CTCA five-year cancer survivors, but to all survivors.”
For more information on Celebrate Life or CTCA Chicago, please visit: www.cancercenter.com.