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Cancer survivors celebrate life

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May 31, 2008

Albany -- Hundreds in South Georgia celebrated beating cancer Saturday. The celebration was put on by Pheobe's Cancer Center and is a part of National Cancer Survivors Day.

The event demonstrated that there is life after a cancer diagnosis; a message that takes special meaning here in Southwest Georgia where there is a 70 percent death rate from the disease.

Smiles, laughter and hugs were shared among a group who because of cancer didn't think would live to see another day. "It really frightened me. It's a very cold diagnosis. And I feared it," said Breast Cancer Survivor, Faye Thompson.

But everyone at the event survived and are now in remission. "I feel truly blessed to be able to talk to people who have gone through what I have," said Thompson.

"It's an opportunity for all of us to get together, socialize, have some fun and see each other in a less formal, less intimidating basis," said Director of Phoebe Cancer Center, Dr. Philip Roberts. 

This celebration of life wasn't just for the cancer patients, but for family and friends as well. "I know that it was something that brought us closer together as a family. She was the one who had the disease, but the family also had the disease," said Faye's husband, Dr. Gregory Thompson.

"It was as if they had not been told anything. They acted normal and my husband was very supportive. And he is still by my side," said Faye.

"It's a very stressful, trying and difficult time for them. But in the end they get through it and its part of the past," said Dr. Roberts. And that is what the celebration is all about.

"We want to encourage people not to fear tomorrow and not to regret yesterday, but seize the opportunity to exist today," said Dr. Roberts. Because as the hundreds at the event will tell you, cancer is a fight that can be won with the right combination of medicine, support and faith.

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