Baylor Scott & White, AdventHealth hold Cancer Survivor Day 2021
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Baylor Scott and White Cancer Center and AdventHealth Central Texas partnered to hold their annual Cancer Survivor Day celebration Monday morning in front of the Cancer Center.
June is National Cancer Survivor Month, and June 6 marked National Cancer Survivors Day, which recognizes the millions of adults and children in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer survivors and their supporters gathered to hear from two of the oncologists at the Cancer Center as well two-time breast cancer survivor and founder of Pink Warrior Angels of Texas Julie Moser, and AdventHealth CEO Kevin Roberts. Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra also was present and read a proclamation declaring June 6 to be National Cancer Survivors’ Day.
The theme of Monday’s event was 50s era Rock and Roll, with signs posted throughout telling survivors “Just for the record, you rock!”
Pink Warrior Angels had a booth at the event, where they had tee shirts and chemo care kits for cancer patients to take home with them.
Also present at the event were members of the Five Hills Scholarship Pageant royalty, who handed out goody bags and painted rocks with encouraging messages for the cancer survivors.
Dr. Ojas Vyas, one of the oncologists at the BSW Cancer Center, spoke about the resiliency of cancer survivors.
“This is a wonderful day that I particularly enjoy because we get to celebrate the most important thing in medicine- our patients, specifically the brave men and women who have risked the challenge to face cancer,” Vyas said.
Vyas mentioned how frightening a cancer diagnosis can be to patients and their families.
“Cancer survivors do not succumb to this fear,” Vyas said. “In the face of this they find resilience- the resilience to face the disease and take back control of their lives. They find this in their family, their communities, their faith, their healthcare providers, but most importantly, they find this within themselves. Today is a celebration of that strength, and dedication of living life. To our survivors and family members of those who fought cancer, today is our chance as physicians to commend you for your bravery and share with you what inspiration you are to us.”
There are expected to be more than 20 million cancer survivors in the U.S. by 2026, according to Vyas.
If caught early, many cancers are survivable, he added.
“Cancer survivors are a living example about the journey from illness to wellness, and I commend you all,” Vyas said.
Cancer survivor Julie Moser shared a little bit of her own journey.
“Being a two time cancer survivor is something I never thought I would ever say,” Moser said. “My first diagnosis was back in 2013, when my husband was deployed, because, you know, Murphy’s Law.”
Moser said she founded her organization Pink Warrior Angels of Texas back in 2015 after noticing the gaps for financial support for cancer survivors, especially as a military family.
Moser said she is the first one in her family on both sides to be diagnosed with cancer, but five years after her diagnosis, her mother has metastatic cancer, and Moser herself has been re-diagnosed seven years after her initial diagnosis.
Pink Warrior Angels was created to fill the gaps financially but also be a supporting presence for people going through their cancer journey.
Moser said that the team at the Cancer Center is tremendous. She added that she was very appreciative of the Baylor Scott and White Cancer Center next to AdventHealth for being so much closer to home for her this time, compared to when she had to drive all the way to Temple during her first diagnosis.
Moser said the team at the Cancer Center was caring and most importantly, they listened to her.
“Listening is key to not only making sure that we’re okay, to make sure that we don’t feel alone, or to explain the big words that they say from time to time so we’re not going up to the internet and asking Dr. Google, what’s wrong with me, or should I call the doctor,” Moser said. “You know, they’re really educated and take pride in their patients to just care. I mean, really just to care, and that speaks volumes.”