Arliss Anderson, a lung cancer survivor from Shakopee, MN, joined more than 100 other five-year cancer survivors for an emotional and momentous tree planting ceremony at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern) on June 7. The annual Celebrate Life® event is an inspirational and extraordinary celebration of cancer survivorship. Anderson and survivors representing 44 states gathered for the memorable event to celebrate the milestone and to support one another as they continue their cancer survivorship journey.
The annual commemorative tree planting ceremony symbolizes the wonder of life and growth. The 2013 Celebrate Life event marks the 25th year that a tree has been planted in honor of each five-year survivor, providing a thriving forest of life giving trees representing cancer survivorship. Participants were joined by doctors, hospital administrators, clinical team members, caregivers, family members and members of the local community who attended in a show of support. During the ceremony, celebrants also collectively released five white doves representing each year of cancer-fighting survival while receiving treatment at CTCA®.
Anderson sought treatment at CTCA at Midwestern after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008. “I initially scheduled an appointment locally, but my son Shannon insisted I pursue care at CTCA, a leading hospital in cancer care,” said Anderson. “There, I met with my medical oncologist, Dr. Patricia Thompson and developed an intensive treatment plan, which included radiation and chemotherapy. I received excellent care at CTCA. Thanks to their amazing staff, prayers from my friends and family, and my fearless nature, I am a cancer survivor.”
The 2013 Celebrate Life event at CTCA at Midwestern also included a red carpet reception and luncheon with delicious gourmet offerings of natural and organic foods prepared by the culinary team from the Wholesome Bistro, the CTCA in-hospital restaurant.
Before the day concluded, many of the five-year survivors took time to walk through the hospital to offer comfort and support to other patients and family members, inspiring all. Each celebrant was also honored with an engraved gold leaf, which is proudly displayed on the ever-growing tree of life located at the entrance of the hospital.
“Each and every day is a celebration of life and survivorship,” said Scott Jones, president and CEO at CTCA at Midwestern. “At Cancer Treatment Centers of America everything, from our patient centered personalized treatment to our integrated therapies and supportive services, is orchestrated around the patient and their family. Patients and their families that are facing cancer choose us, and we stand side-by-side, hand-in-hand with them throughout their journey.”
Photo: Arliss Anderson of Shakopee, MN (center) a five-year cancer survivor celebrates life on June 7, 2013 at the Celebrate Life Tree planting ceremony with Scott Jones, President and CEO (right), and Annie Stephenson, Chairman Elect (left), pictured at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center. A tree will be planted in NAME honor. This year, nearly 300 trees will be planted in honor of all five-year cancer survivor celebrants.