On Sunday, June 3, communities across the globe held celebrations to recognize National Cancer Survivors Day, to honor cancer survivors, and to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding and even inspiring.
To celebrate this day, Integrated Medical Foundation (www.imfcares.org) along with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) hosted its annual Belmont Stakes 5k Run/Walk. The event was the prelude to the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes. Runners and walkers and cancer survivors traversed the grounds of Belmont Park, leading up to an exciting finish on the track at the same finish line that witnessed the Belmont Stakes triumphs of Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and American Pharaoh, and recently, Justify.
“Life after cancer is more than just surviving. It can be beautiful, abundant, and fulfilling. And that’s something to celebrate,” said Rhonda Samuel Executive Director of Integrated Medical Foundation and local NCSD coordinator. “Our celebration was filled with joy, hope, camaraderie and compassion while we also recognized the contributions of their families, friends, and healthcare providers and raise awareness of the ongoing challenges faced by cancer survivors today.”
“Once again, we are proud to have partnered with the Integrated Medical Foundation and expand our annual 5k run to celebrate survivors on National Cancer Survivors Day,” added NYRA spokesman and race co-director Najja Thompson. “The Belmont Stakes is known as the ‘Test of the Champion’ and with the Belmont Stakes 5k run and walk, we’re able to honor another kind of champion—the survivors and their supporters—and offer our support to everyone currently fighting cancer by raising awareness.”
Major advances in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment have resulted in longer survival, and therefore, a growing number of cancer survivors. However, a cancer diagnosis can leave a host of problems in its wake. Physical, financial, and emotional hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Survivors may face many challenges, such as limited access to cancer specialists and promising new treatments, inadequate or no health insurance, financial hardships, difficulty finding employment, psychosocial struggles, and a lack of understanding from family and friends.
“Despite the numerous challenges they face, cancer survivors’ serve as an inspiration to all of us,” said Samuel. “It’s time for our community to stand with them and help find ways to lessen the burdens a cancer diagnosis brings.”
IMF offers free support groups to prostate cancer patients and one on one in person or phone support to survivors of all cancers. For more information, email info@IMFcares.org.