More than 400 cancer survivors and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center staff gathered in the Rockefeller Research Laboratories Auditorium and an overflow room on June 22 to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day. The keynote speaker, baseball legend Joe Torre, spoke about being “in the club” of survivors and praised the care provided by Memorial Sloan Kettering and the support he received from the public after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999.
Mr. Torre, who managed the New York Yankees to four World Series championships, joked that his battle with the disease had an upside: “George Steinbrenner felt sorry for me. So I did grab a break there.”
In welcoming remarks, Memorial Hospital Physician-in-Chief Robert E. Wittes commended Memorial Sloan Kettering ’s Cancer Survivorship Initiative, led by Mary McCabe, and pointed out that the program is more important than ever in view of the increasing number of cancer survivors. Ms. McCabe then introduced two survivors, both of whom were treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Jennifer Rogers, a financial journalist diagnosed with large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2007, said cancer had taught her to “revel in the beauty and the power of the moments we have.” Tony Corrao, a financial adviser and professor treated for sarcoma in the early 1970s, emphasized the responsibility that survivors have to tell their stories and give hope to other patients undergoing treatment.
In closing remarks, Memorial Sloan Kettering President Craig B. Thompson thanked the “incredibly vibrant and supportive” survivorship community. “Your health and happiness give meaning to our work, and you inspire us to rededicate ourselves every day to our mission,” he said.