DENVER — For some it can feel like a death sentence but a diagnosis of cancer these days is often very survivable.
And treatments are always improving that’s why hundreds came together in Denver on Sunday to celebrate surviving cancer.
But dealing with cancer can be a very lonely road for the patient and their family.
And sometimes the best support can come from someone who’s already been through it. That’s why a day of celebration can be so important for someone recently diagnosed.
Like Jenee Davis they each have their own story of how they or someone they love got through it.
“This happened to me did it happen to you what did you know it’s just a tremendous support system,” she said.
Davis shares her experiences with new cancer patients. “Very important to show people that it’s not as scary as it seems. “
Denver’s was one of hundreds of cancer survivor celebrations across the country.
A mix of food and entertainment for those who’ve faced down the dreaded disease.
“Once you’ve been through it you understand and you know about it and you want to help people and get them through it,” said Thelma Minor who’s been through cancer twice and now made it her mission.
“I’m going to help them I’m going to do whatever I can to make them feel better and get them through this because it’s not really as hard as they think.”
Vicky Matarazzo has her entire family of support dealing with stage four cancer.
“The whole idea of community around someone with cancer and how everyone comes together to hopefully help them become and stay a survivor,” said her son Brett Matarazzo.
The common themes here are about the fight and maintaining courage through that fight.
“When I got better and realized the survival rate for AML is so low I wanted to try to pay back somehow,” said former Denver prosecutor Bill Buckley who survived leukemia and now raises money for cancer research.
“It’s really important to celebrate the survivors and the fact that that list is increasing.”
“To think that you’re helping that person that’s what makes your day,” Thelma said.
In fact cancer mortality rates have been going down over the last 25 years while the number of survivors has doubled.
But money for cancer research is still underfunded.