Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals Celebrate Cancer Survivors with Celebration of Life Luncheon
Darby, PA (November 3, 2014): On Sunday, November 2, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital (MFH) and Mercy Philadelphia Hospital (MPH) hosted a joint Cancer Survivor’s Day Luncheon for cancer survivors who have or are still receiving care from either hospital.
More than 60 cancer survivors and supporters, including friends, family and caregivers attended the event, which included a prayer service, luncheon and program. As survivors arrived, they were gifted with handmade jewelry, water bottles and multi-colored bracelets representing the various types of cancer.
The prayer service, led by Vice Presidents of Mission Integration Sister Donna Watto, RSM (MFH) and Sister Suzanne Gallagher, RSM (MPH) focused on faith, appreciation of life, and the meaning of survivorship. Executive Director Susan Cusack welcomed survivors and their loved ones, and thanked them for allowing Mercy to be a part of their valiant battles.
She remarked, “Each and every one of you serves as an inspiration to us here at Mercy. It is because of you that we are able to do the work we do each and every day. You have chosen us to care for you, and we are honored and privileged to be a part of your unwavering fight against cancer.”
A Thanksgiving-style luncheon and program directly followed the service and included musical interludes performed by cancer survivor Patricia Stokes. Throughout the program, survivors were invited to sign the “Tree of Life” banner, signifying their renewal of life and growth during their personal journey from cancer diagnosis through survivorship.
Yeadon Borough Mayor and Reverend Rohan Hepkins served as keynote speaker, directly addressing survivors and stating, “You have been given a second chance and more time to finish your work, to do good, and to make a difference in the life of others.”
Mercy Hematologist/Oncologist Rene Rubin, MD provided a testimonial from a physician’s standpoint, reminding patients that they are not alone in their battles. “When you go through cancer, you are not alone in your fight,” said Rubin. “We, as your doctors go through it with you, your family and loved ones go through it with you, and we all share in the set-backs and the victories.”
Sharing her own personal story, she spoke on the importance of having faith in a higher power, pushing forward and remembering those lost to cancer. Placing a hand over her heart, she said, “There are so many ways to remember and honor those we’ve lost to cancer,” before holding up the shirt she wore earlier that morning while running a brain cancer awareness race, in memory of her own husband.
During the program, several survivors also took center stage and shared their own personal accounts of being diagnosed with, battling and surviving cancer.
Cancer Care Nurse Navigator Joy Hepkins, RN, OCN, provided closing remarks and reminded all attendees that they are never alone in their fight against cancer, stating, “Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals both offer cancer support groups open to anyone. Whether you’re a survivor, still fighting or are a care-giver of someone with cancer, you can find strength and support from those who’ve been there and have gone through it.”
Photo Caption: Left to right: Cancer Survivors Ms. Betty Bethel, Ms. Yvonne Florence, Ms. Rita Jackson, Ms. Lori Odum and Ms. Theresa Royster attend the Celebration of Life Cancer Survivor’s Day Luncheon hosted by Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals.