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Cancer Survivors Celebrate Life at Stony Brook
More than 800 attend National Cancer Survivors Day event at Cancer Center
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Ladies leading the way: The “Parade of Survivors” at Stony Brook’s National Cancer Survivors Day brought hundreds of cancer survivors together with their Stony Brook caregivers to celebrate life and overcoming their diseases.

Stony Brook, NY, June 19, 2015 – More than 800 people, including some 300 cancer survivors, came together to celebrate survivorship and life with their families and Stony Brook University Cancer Center caregivers at Stony Brook’s annual National Cancer Survivors Day. The beautiful, bright June day brought many sunny smiles to those in attendance, as well as stories of hope from survivors ranging from the very young to those in their golden years.

According to the National Institutes of Health, there are approximately 14 million cancer survivors in the United States. National Cancer Survivors Day is a global day of celebration that takes place each June. Despite progress made treating many forms of cancer, collectively the disease remains the second most common cause of death in the U.S.

“Cancer care at Stony Brook is advancing rapidly, and we are determined to remain on the cutting-edge of treatment to cure many forms of cancer as we look to the future,” said Samuel Ryu, MD, Deputy Director, Clinical Affairs, and Chair of Radiation Oncology at Stony Brook University Cancer Center. “Our Center is assembling ever-increasing teams of physicians and scientists to tackle the difficult issues of conquering cancer – teams that work together at the basic science level, translational research, and by launching new clinical trials.”

During the event introduction, Dr. Ryu said that the growth of clinical care and research at the Cancer Center is best illustrated by the coming Medical and Research Translation (MART) building. The MART, slated to be a 245,000 square foot, eight story facility, will be devoted to cancer research and care and house an expanded Cancer Center with its outpatient services.

“The upbeat energy here at Stony Brook and the vision of the Cancer Center leadership is really quite amazing,” said keynote speaker Doug Ulman, a three-time cancer survivor, President and CEO of Pelotonia, and former Livestrong President and CEO. “Talking to many of you inspires me, and seeing the commitment that Stony Brook has in its mission to cure cancer should inspire all of you and future patients treated here.”

Ulman is a national cancer survivorship advocate. After overcoming chondrosarcoma during his sophomore years in college and malignant melanoma twice since, in 1997 he founded the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. This non-profit organization provides support, education, and resources to young adults, their families and friends who are affected by cancer. 

Stony Brook patients such as Maritza McGee, 45, an acute myeloid leukemia patient who received a bone marrow transplant, and Carmen Cali, 62, a patient treated for multiple myeloma for 10 years who has undergone two bone marrow transplants, stood out as rays of hope for the many Stony Brook patients still undergoing treatment.

McGee, Cali and the hundreds of other survivors enjoyed the day, the comradery and unity they all shared, and the outdoor festivities for all – survivors, family, friends, and the Stony Brook Cancer Center physicians, nurses and staff.

For pictures of the celebration and activities, such as “Dunk-a-Doc” and the “Parade of Survivors,” see this Facebook link.

Greg Filiano
Stony Brook University
631-444-9343
Follow us on Twitter @sbunewsdesk   

Gregory.filiano@stonybrookmedicine.edu