Event

On Cancer: Actor and Cancer Activist Rob Lowe Addresses Memorial Sloan Kettering National Cancer Survivors Day Celebration

By Celia Gittelson  |  Friday, June 21, 2013

“At Memorial Sloan Kettering, cancer care does not end when someone finishes treatment,” said the institution’s President and CEO Craig B. Thompson, welcoming hundreds of patients, families, and friends to a program and reception marking National Cancer Survivors Day on June 10 at Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Manhattan campus. Although traditionally observed on the first Sunday in June, cancer survivors are recognized by Memorial Sloan Kettering at celebrations throughout the month.

“We are committed to being a lifelong resource for everyone who has faced or is facing cancer and are proud to be the leader of survivorship-focused research and care,” Dr. Thompson said. “We take seriously our role as an international model of how to handle survivorship, and our responsibility to all of you.”

Actor Rob Lowe delivered the evening’s keynote speech. His grandmother and mother died of breast cancer, and his father was treated for stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma at age 50 and, said Mr. Lowe, would soon celebrate his 75th birthday.  

“In my life I have learned that even the most painful chapters contain a golden gift,” he said. “A family touched by cancer has an opportunity to re-form as a closer, stronger, more loving unit. Gratitude and recognition of life's values are infused into our hearts in a way otherwise impossible.”

“Because today we know that a cancer diagnosis is not the end, but it is the beginning of a journey that has the power to be transformative, enlightening, and heroic. I'm always amazed and humbled by the many survivors I meet who tell me, ‘I'm not the same person I was.’ And they mean it as a good thing. [They] have said ‘No’ to fear and were rewarded with a priceless gift: a new perspective on life's values.”

Cancer Survivors Speak

Among the cancer survivors who addressed the gathering was Susan Moser, who was diagnosed with a germ cell tumor one month after her birth. Despite experiencing a number of late effects of her treatment, Ms. Moser received her BA degree from Cornell University and a law degree from New York University School of Law. She currently practices at a prominent Manhattan firm.

“As anyone who has been touched by cancer knows and understands, the experience does not end with the final treatment,” said Ms. Moser. “The survivor experience challenges everyone in a different way. For some it is the physical and mental challenge of coping with being ill and wondering what will happen next. For others it is the emotional and mental challenge of learning to embrace their past, present, and future as a cancer survivor.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering also held local survivorship celebrations for patients treated at its ambulatory care facilities in Westchester, New Jersey, and Long Island.

Steve Danatos, a former US Marine, lawyer, and certified public accountant, spoke at the event for patients treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Basking Ridge, New Jersey, facility. Diagnosed in 2009 with tongue cancer, Mr. Danatos expressed gratitude for what he called “the Memorial Sloan Kettering ecosystem — the coordinated, integrated, and seamless healthcare service platform that delivers to each patient the highest-quality, focused, and compassionate care that their individual needs require.”

“From Day One, everyone worked diligently to cure me — not merely to see me, or treat me,” Mr. Danatos said. “My experience convinces me that no institution serves its patients better.”

Comments

Why didn't I receive an invitation to this Survivorship event? I've attended the past few years and enjoyed it trmendously. Very disappointed!!!

Hi Cheryl, we apologize that you didn't get invited to this event. We have added you to the list for next year's event, and we hope you'll be able to attend. Thank you for your comment.

Last year I contacted you about being an MSKCC survivor but never receive invitations to the survivors event. You assured me I would be added to the invitation list. I did not receive an invitation again this year. At this point, I do not want to be invited to future events - I celebrate my survivorship every day with family and friends.

Elaine, we apologize that you did not receive an invitation, but we're glad that you are able to celebrate your survivorship with your loved ones. Thank you for your comment.

Hello...I would like to be added to the list for potential guest speakers for cancer survivorship. I was published in the fall 2012 newsletter, pg. 7. Please let me know if I am considered as an appropriate speaker. Thank you!

Diane, thank you for your comment. We will forward your request to the appropriate person handling the survivorship event.

Thank you very much for fowarding my request. Have a good weekend!

I would like to be invited to future cancer survivor events. I was treated twice for cancer at MSKCC - 1985 and 2010 and appreciate that I continue to be a Survivor thanks to you.

Pamela, thank you for your comment. We will forward your request to the appropriate person handling the survivorship event.

Please add me to your list of cancer survivors. I had colorectal cancer in 2006. Please invite me to future survivor events. Thanks!

Jayne, we have forwarded your request to the person handling the invitation list. Thank you for your comment.

As a Memorial cancer survivor I would like to be included in the next invitation list. Many thanks for your time and consideration. All the Best.

Jody, we have forwarded your request to the person handling the invitation list. Thank you for your comment.

Please add my name to future surviver events. I had colorectal cancer in 2005 and been a survivor ever since thanks to you! You are the best in the world. Dennis Baranec

Dennis, we have forwarded your request to the person handling the invitation list. Thank you for your comment.

Please invite me to future survivor events. After being treated at Sloan for Stage 4 Ovarian cancer, I have been in remission since December, 2006. I will be eternally grateful to my wonderful doctors!

Hi MaryAnn, we will forward your name to the person who manages the invitation list. Thank you for your comment!

Please invite me to future survivor events. I had breast cancer last year and had both breasts removed and my reconstruction done at Sloan. I am forever grateful to my doctors and to Sloan.

Hi Donna, we will forward your name to the person who manages the invitation list. Thank you for your comment!

Please invite to future survivor events! Dr dalbagni saved my life 5 years ago!

JoAnn, we will forward your request to the group that organized our survivorship events. We're glad to hear you're doing well. Thank you for your comment.

I would also like to be made aware of these events. They seem wonderful and helpful. Thanks, from another survivor.

We will add you to the list!

Please include me in your cancer survivors events. Dr Ganly and Dr Cordiero at your Manhatten Campus saved my life a year ago! As well as my radiologist, Dr Schupak at the Basking Ridge facility! Thank You So Much!

Joseph, thank you for your comment. We have forwarded your request to the person who manages the invitation list.

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