MMCH sponsors national event
Cancer survivors celebrate life

Wanda English Burnett

Three years ago Dr. Mary Robertson was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sunday, June 7 marked that date as she stood before nearly 200 people at the National Cancer Survivor Day celebration held at The Hansen Center, Batesville. “I understand what it means to hear the word cancer,” she told those gathered to celebrate being a survivor.

Using a hospital table as a podium, the doctor likened being diagnosed with cancer to having your house broken into and how vulnerable it leaves you. She said as a cancer survivor she knows the feeling of always thinking, “it can happen again.”

She encouraged cancer survivors to find the thing that makes us really human. Stress releases she suggested included music, humor, relationships, exercise, activity, and playing. “Find the inner child,” she suggested.

Another big help is medication. “It helps to break the vicious cycles of fear and worry,” which Dr. Robertson says are never good.

An imperative question you should ask your doctor when getting tests done is this, according to Dr. Robertson. “Do I need to lose sleep over this?”

She said many tests cause concern for patients, but the doctor can tell when it’s really something they should be concerned with. “Just ask,” was her advice.

She concluded by saying the real heroes are “you here today,” people who have survived cancer, their families who are greatly involved, and those who have had the courage to die from cancer.

Dr. Robertson practices internal medicine at her Batesville office.

The festivities included games, plenty of free healthy snacks and a few not so healthy such as funnel cakes and cotton candy! The day was a chance for cancer survivors to come together and celebrate.

According to Traci Dwenger, spokesperson for Margaret Mary Community Hospital, sponsors of the event, this is the second year the hospital has been involved with National Cancer Survivor Day. Last year it was smaller, and only included those from MMCH who were survivors. This year it was expanded to include any cancer survivor.

Joann Cole, Batesville, formerly of Versailles, and family members were among those celebrating. She’s hoping the third time is the charm that stops cancer from coming back. She’s had breast cancer, first in the left side and then 14 years later again in the right side. She recently completed treatments for lung cancer at The Hansen Center.

What gave her the courage to fight again? Cole told the Osgood Journal, “It was my family. They’ve been right there.” Son, Dwayne Cole of Hanover and daughter Michelle Sellers of Versailles, were by her side, along with sister Delores Benham of Milan. Also at the celebration was her great grandson, Cale Kreegar.

Over 12 million cancer survivors nationwide gathered the first Sunday of June to celebrate.

Dr. Robertson encouraged everyone to have annual tests to screen for cancer, saying that is the key in many cases to saving lives.

Above: Cancer survivors took part in a balloon launch to celebrate life on Sunday, June 7 at The Hansen Center in Batesville. The event was sponsored by Margaret Mary Community Hospital. Below: Joann Cole, seated, is celebrating beating cancer for the third time. The former Versailles woman was surrounded by her family.