DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., June 16, 2016 On June 5, the Florida Hospitals in Volusia and Flagler counties, which composes the Florida Hospital East Florida Region, honored local cancer survivors with a special event at the Daytona International Speedways 500 Club.
National Cancer Survivors Day provides an opportunity for all those living with a history of cancer including Americas more than 14.5 million cancer survivors to connect with each other, celebrate milestones, and recognize those who have supported them along the way. It is also a day to draw attention to the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship in order to promote more resources, research, and survivor-friendly legislation to improve cancer survivors quality of life.
During the Florida Hospital celebration, more than 400 cancer survivors and family members explored the Daytona International Speedway, enjoying a ride around the track in a pace car and touring the Florida Hospital injector, Sprint FanZone and pit road.
There was more to this event than just the fast-paced excitement of the Daytona International Speedway. The event also featured inspiring testimonials from cancer survivors and the Florida Hospital physicians and care teams who fight cancer every day.
This is a very important day. On the first Sunday of June, the whole world joins together to celebrate those who have survived, inspire those who have been recently diagnosed, and support the families and communities caring for a loved one with cancer, said Imelda Imee Unto, Florida Hospital East Florida Region cancer services administrator.
Unto, who is not a cancer survivor herself, shared with the audience how cancer has impacted her family, first taking her grandfather with lung cancer, then her older brother with a rare liver tumor, followed by her aunt with breast cancer, and then her older sister with a brain tumor. It was then she decided to fight cancer in a clinical setting as a nurse.
Last year, my two younger sisters were diagnosed with breast cancer, and they are both now cancer free she said, visibly moved. There is so much good news happening in the world of cancer we have new technologies and new medications available that the survival rate has increased dramatically. However, it remains the responsibility of every cancer survivor to go back to their doctor and get checked regularly because cancer may visit you again.
Local breast cancer survivor Bernadette Rose was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in April 2015 and shared her personal story with the audience.
Being here with each and every one of you is such a high point in my life, she said. Embrace it, learn from it, and never give up the fight to win.
Cancer survivor Dee Stevens shared Roses sentiments.
This event brought tears to my eyes and I have goosebumps, Stevens said. It is fabulous to see so many people who have fought so hard and have survived.
The event ended on a positive note, reflecting about the future of cancer treatments.
Id like to retire as a nurse with cancer no longer acting as a death sentence, Unto said. It is my hope that one day, cancer is considered a chronic disease, like diabetes or high blood pressure, and we just live on and manage it.
About Florida Hospital East Florida Region
A member of Adventist Health System, Florida Hospitals mission is to extend the healing ministry of Christ. Encompassing six Florida Hospitals in Volusia and Flagler counties, the Florida Hospital East Florida Region is the largest hospital system in the area, with 899 beds and nearly 5,900 employees. The Florida Hospital East Florida Region includes Florida Hospital DeLand in DeLand, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City, Florida Hospital Flagler in Palm Coast, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach, and Florida Hospital Oceanside in Ormond Beach. In April 2016, the sixth facility was added to the Florida Hospital East Florida Region family: Florida Hospital New Smyrna (formerly Bert Fish Medical Center) in New Smyrna Beach.