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Celebrating Life: National Cancer Survivors Day

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Local cancer survivors gathered and were honored on Sunday by the folks at Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare.

Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare's annual Cancer Survivors Breakfast was held at the Hart's Hill Inn in Whitesboro on National Cancer Survivors Day.

The event is designed to honor the survivors and their caregivers.

FSLH Cancer Program Executive Director Nancy Borden says it's important to recognize the caregivers, "It's important that cancer survivors have a strong support network, someone to talk to, someone to help them out with household chores to help them out with driving, so it's important that we honor the survivor and the caregiver."

FSLH Oncology Nursing Department's Sheila Kittle says the breakfast is very inspirational for healthcare workers like herself, "When I see faces that I know have been treated 20 years ago, it makes you feel good all over to know that they're surviving.  People are surviving more and more, longer and longer.  The care is better, the medication is better, there's new technology.  it's prolonging life and quality of life, and it just makes you feel good to know you're a part of that."

Jo Ellen Maring is one of the many area cancer survivors who attend this breakfast each year.  Maring says she really feels fortunate to come each year, "When I was originally diagnosed I had an aggressive form of breast cancer and it had already spread to my lymph nodes and my clavicle, and my doctors told me I'd be lucky if I lasted two years."

Maring is about to hit the five year mark "I just saw my breast cancer doctor and he said for my type of cancer and the stage I was at and the spread of it, it was very, very amazing, and I'm very happy to be alive."

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