A Celebration of Life
Hundreds of cancer survivors and their families flocked to BIDMC's Celebration of Life on the Harvard Medical School quad Sunday, for a day filled with workshops, inspirational stories of survival and overwhelming support from family and friends.
"Your courage and your hope is an inspiration to us all," said Lowell E. Schnipper, MD, Chief, Hematology/Oncology, in welcoming approximately 1,000 guests to the 17th annual Celebration of Life.
In addition to 25 different workshops that covered specific cancers, family roles in coping with cancer and using yoga as a recovery tool, cancer survivors, their families and medical center staff were treated to a special keynote speaker and panel discussion with cancer survivors.
New York Times best-selling author Bruce Feiler delivered the keynote address at the invitation of Grateful Nation, which combines new and traditional media to bring together the patients, families, friends, and staff of BIDMC to support the quality care and groundbreaking research at the Medical Center.
Grateful Nation - a program of BIDMC's Development Office - offers a place to share experiences, thank caregivers and researchers, participate in sweepstakes, sponsor and host events and much more.
Feiler has gained national acclaim for "The Council of Dads," his 10th book in which he details his journey through diagnosis and treatment of bone cancer. His idea of enlisting a team of six men from different stages of his life to serve as a "council of dads" for his twin daughters - who were 3 years-old when he was diagnosed - is testament to the values, bonds and support family and friends can provide.
"This may have started as something for the girls, but I'm the one who really needed it," Feiler said.
Feiler received a standing ovation following his remarks, which were in turn followed by the survivors' panel featuring Jaquelyn Anderson, Kimberly Kenney, Howard Lipsky, Robert O'Brien and Kevin Pitt.
"The care at BIDMC," is what Margaret Jeddry, a breast cancer survivor, proclaimed on her gratitude placard. Jeddry, a BIDMC employee for 38 years, raved about the event and the care she received on the ninth floor of the Shapiro Clinical Center.
Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, program manager for Oncology Social Work and lead organizer of the event, thanked the many members of the Celebration of Life planning committee, as well as the medical center clinical staff and volunteers who care for cancer patients and families.
Hill, a cancer survivor herself, proclaimed, "The inconvenience and complications (that come with having cancer) must be trumped by joy."