A celebration of life
Despite unseasonably chilly temperatures, hundreds of cancer survivors and their families attended BIDMC's 18th annual Celebration of Life on the Harvard Medical School quad on May 22, to raise awareness about the battle against cancer. This daylong event, which was open to the public, was highlighted by workshops, inspirational stories of survival, and overwhelming support from family and friends.
"This 'winter version of the Celebration of Life' drew a large crowd of cancer patients/survivors and their families to the HMS Quad. In spite of the cold, enthusiasm and feelings were intense and warm, and the day was a reminder of the many blessings of our community and care at BIDMC," said Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, BIDMC's chief oncology social worker and two-time breast cancer survivor.
The event, which was first organized by BIDMC in 1993 to coincide with the National Cancer Survivors Day, has become a popular day for those whose lives have been touched by the cancer.
"The annual Celebration of Life is a wonderful day for cancer survivors and their loved ones. It is a day that is packed with warmth, education, support, camaraderie, good food, and fun. It is a totally unique experience and is not to be missed," one patient remarked.
Throughout the day, 29 different workshops led by our BIDMC faculty and staff, as well as other community experts, covered relevant topics ranging from specific cancers and treatments to using art and writing to express emotion and yoga as a recovery tool. There was also a panel discussion with cancer survivors.
In addition to the workshops and panel, guests were treated to a display of art, photography, sculpture, and crafts created by cancer patients and members of the cancer community and a book of poems and writings. There was also an opportunity for massage, Reiki treatments, and make-up consultations, as well as a raffle and silent auction.
BIDMC provides Celebration of Life free of charge to the Boston community thanks to charitable giving. Generous supporters contributed more than $76,000 for this year's activities. "Without the support of our donors, this event, and all that we offer, would not be possible," said Hill Schnipper. Learn more at Grateful Nation.