Piedmont Henry honors local cancer survivors

Special to The Times

Nearly 200 survivors and their guests from Henry County were recently honored by Piedmont Henry Hospital for their strength and courage at a special dinner in celebration of National Cancer Survivors Day.

The event, which was held on Thursday, June 1 at the Pinehurst Tea Room, brought together survivors and their loved ones for a celebration of life, an evening to reflect on their journey, share their experiences with other survivors, and thank those who have supported them along the way.

Attendees color in a special ‘tree of life’ portrait on National Cancer Survivors Day. Special photo

“We are very grateful to have all these survivors together to celebrate their life at this special dinner,” said Linda Van Der Merwe, director of oncology at Piedmont Henry and master of ceremony of the event. “As healthcare workers, we see firsthand the hardships many of these survivors have gone through during their treatments to overcome the obstacles of cancer. It’s an honor for our hospital and staff to host this incredible event to recognize these very special individuals.”

Guests were also touched by special guest speaker and local breast cancer advocate, Sonia Rae, a mother of two, who delivered an inspirational speech about her six-year battle with breast cancer. Diagnosed at only 34, Rae has not only survived – but thrived – during her journey. She impressed upon the audience the importance of having faith while battling the disease.

In addition to dinner, the celebration featured music by local musician, David Ellis, photo booth and special prizes. Each survivor received a gift symbolizing the celebration of life at the end of the evening.

The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation defines a survivor as anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life. According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 400,000 cancer survivors in Georgia.

The Thomas F. Chapman Cancer Wellness program at Piedmont Henry offers a variety of free support services and programs such as cooking demonstrations, yoga and counseling to patients, survivors and caregivers.

As a not-for-profit hospital, Piedmont Henry relies on the generosity of donors to offer many programs and advanced medical technology to the community. For more information about the cancer services provided by the hospital or to make a donation in support of the Cancer Wellness program, visit piedmont.org.