Center News Magazine: Stem Cell Transplant Survivors Celebrate

By Jim Stallard, MA, Writer/Editor  |  Thursday, December 1, 2011
Pictured: Diane Vigar, Steve Hasday & Peter Smith Caregiver Diane Vigar with transplant recipients Steve Hasday (left) and Peter Smith.

More than 200 people who have been treated for cancer or blood disorders by stem cell transplantation gathered in the Laurance S. Rockefeller Boardroom with family, friends, and Memorial Sloan Kettering staff on October 20 for the Center’s 16th annual Stem Cell Transplant Survivors Celebration. The event drew a total of more than 600 guests and allowed Memorial Sloan Kettering transplant patients to meet one another and reunite with doctors, nurses, and other staff.

Sergio A. Giralt, Chief of the Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Service, commended the survivors for their resilience. “This is a celebration about your journey to return to the life you want to have,” he said. “You have been an example of courage and dedication, of what the human spirit can do. We look forward to continuing to see you and many, many more every year.

Two patients and a caregiver also made brief remarks, all recounting the distressing moment of diagnosis, praising the care received at Memorial Sloan Kettering during treatment and recovery, and reflecting on how the experience had transformed their lives.

Memorial Sloan Kettering medical oncologist and hematologist Stephen D. Nimer said, “Every year that we get together, we hear these incredible stories. It’s hard to come up with the right words to say how moving it is. For us to take care of you is just a great privilege.”