Celebrating Cancer Survivors in Kansas City

Remarks by Linda Bloch Lyon, vice president of the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation, at the 24th annual Kansas City Celebration of Life Rally on National Cancer Survivors Day, Sunday, June 7, 2009…

Yesterday, the question in the “Voices of Faith” column in The Kansas City Star, the question was “What is the Main Thing that Makes Life Worth Living?” One of the two

answering was the Rev. Pat Rush, pastor of Visitation Catholic Church. He quotes from an article in Atlantic magazine titled “What makes us happy?” “In the end, the only thing that really matters in life is our relationships with other people.”

I think so many people are brought up to be self-sufficient and self-reliant and take pride in ‘being able to doing everything yourself.” When you break an arm, you get it set and wear a cast for a while and that’s it. You can easily do that on your own. When struck with cancer – and I say ‘struck’ because cancer is such a stealthy disease; most people feel good and when told they have cancer are shocked – it is often chaotic and very stressful, and you realize you can’t do it on your own. You need not only the care of a doctor you believe can cure you, but you need the support of others to get through it.

Afterwards, many survivors are so grateful, they want to give back to others going through what they did. The main point I would like to make is that, in getting support when you go through fighting cancer, and when giving support to others who are going through it, you forge relationships with others that change you and your life for the better.

So, I would like to thank all the survivors here, and others who haven’t had cancer but volunteer at our hotline or with other cancer organizations, for reaching out to help, and I hope (and expect) that the relationships you have made through doing so have greatly enriched your life.