CHICAGO, May 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Sunday, June 1, nearly 4,000 people, including more than 700 cancer survivors, will gather in Chicago's Grant Park for the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University's 21st Annual Cancer Survivors' Celebration Walk & 5K. The event will bring cancer survivors, families and friends together with the physicians, scientists and health professionals who support them to celebrate survivorship and the tremendous strides made in cancer research and patient care.
"The walk helps grow awareness in the community that these survivors are strong and that being diagnosed with cancer, and living with cancer, doesn't mean that life outside of dealing with cancer is gone," said Sheetal M. Kircher, MD, Northwestern Medicine® oncologist and medical co-director of the Cancer Survivorship Institute at the Lurie Cancer Center. "I love going to this event because providers like myself are so often entrenched in medical care and it is really nice to see our patients enjoying their lives outside the hospital."
A survivor who will be honored as one of the "Faces of Cancer" on banners displayed throughout the event is Jason Chan, co-owner of Juno. Chan opened the highly-acclaimed sushi restaurant in 2013 while receiving radiation therapy and chemotherapy from Northwestern Medicine specialists at the Lurie Cancer Center for stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma of the throat.
"Cancer teaches you that it doesn't matter what happens to you, it is how you react to it that matters," said Chan. "I think that as cancer survivors, we have a responsibility to set an example for others, and inspire them by showing that having cancer doesn't mean life can't be positive. That is why I think this event is so important."
"Now more than ever cancer has become a disease that is not only manageable, but one that can be beaten thanks to advances in early detection and treatments that are now available," added Frank J. Penedo, PhD, director of the Cancer Survivorship Institute. "But it is still very true that in some ways, every day in a cancer survivor's life is a celebration in its own right. This event provides an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate survivorship as a group."
Kathryn Le Fevour has taken advantage of this opportunity since the late 1990s, when she began as a supporter for a friend of her sister's. More than 15 years later, she is still participating in the Cancer Survivors' Celebration Walk & 5K, but for a new reason. In 2010, a week after giving birth to her second child, she was diagnosed with ampullary cancer, a rare type of gastrointestinal cancer. Luckily, the cancer had no impact on her daughter's health and Le Fevour was able to begin treatment four weeks later.
"Many people think that someone is not a survivor until their cancer is completely gone, but it is important to realize everyone is really a survivor starting from the moment they are diagnosed, and that is a powerful message that this event helps to promote," said Le Fevour. "Every year we have more and more people join my group for the event and they always comment on how fun and inspiring it is to see everyone gathered together with such positive energy."
Held annually on National Cancer Survivors Day, the Cancer Survivors' Celebration Walk & 5K features a non-competitive walk along Chicago's lakefront, followed by a picnic lunch, activities for the family, entertainment and the chance to sign a Dedication Wall. For the second year, participants will also have the option of participating in a chip-timed 5K race.
To learn more about the Lurie Cancer Center's 21st Annual Cancer Survivors' Celebration Walk & 5K and register for the event, visit: http://cancer.northwestern.edu/walk/.
About Northwestern Medicine®
Northwestern Medicine® is the collaboration between Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine around a strategic vision to transform the future of healthcare. It encompasses the research, teaching and patient care activities of the academic medical center. Sharing a commitment to superior quality, academic excellence and patient safety, the organizations within Northwestern Medicine comprise more than 9,000 clinical and administrative staff, 3,100 medical and science faculty and 700 students. The entities involved in Northwestern Medicine remain separate organizations. Northwestern Medicine is a trademark of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and is used by Northwestern University.
About Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Northwestern Memorial is one of the country's premier academic medical center hospitals and is the primary teaching hospital of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Along with its Prentice Women's Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry, the hospital has 1,705 affiliated physicians and 6,769 employees. Northwestern Memorial is recognized for providing exemplary patient care and state-of-the art advancements in the areas of cardiovascular care; women's health; oncology; neurology and neurosurgery; solid organ and soft tissue transplants and orthopaedics.
Northwestern Memorial has nursing Magnet Status, the nation's highest recognition for patient care and nursing excellence. Northwestern Memorial ranks 6th in the nation in the U.S. News & World Report 2013-14 Honor Roll of America's Best Hospitals. The hospital is recognized in 14 of 16 clinical specialties rated by U.S. News and is No. 1 in Illinois and Chicago in U.S. News' 2013-14 state and metro rankings, respectively. For 14 years running, Northwestern Memorial has been rated among the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" guide by Working Mother magazine. The hospital is a recipient of the prestigious National Quality Health Care Award and has been chosen by Chicagoans as the Consumer Choice according to the National Research Corporation's annual survey for 15 consecutive years.
About the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
One of only two National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Illinois, the Lurie Cancer Center is dedicated to scientific discovery, advancing medical knowledge, providing compassionate, state-of-the-art cancer care, and training the next generation of clinicians and scientists. Outstanding basic, translational, and clinical research complements a full range of prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care programs for all types of cancer.
Comprised of clinicians and researchers from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as well as other academic units, our faculty bring the knowledge gained through research and collaboration directly to our patients at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.
SOURCE Northwestern Medicine