Local survivors celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day

Baptist Cancer Center hosts the event annually

Cancer Survivors Day

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Dozens of people gathered in Belhaven to celebrate life and honor those surviving and battling cancer, Sunday.

“Coming and hearing something like today gets people motivated, they really feel inspired and they start sharing their story more. And start helping others,” said Deniece Ponder, administrative director of oncology services.

Through laughter and a warm meal, these cancer survivors were able to celebrate life.

The celebration allows Ponder to see how far these patients have come.

“And they’re so excited to be able to say 'hey, I’m here again. And they get to add that number on that button, 'cause all of them are wearing the buttons that say how many years of a survivor they are,” said Ponder.

After an a capella performance, Carrie McNair gave a speech.

“How can you not speak about a Baptist system that takes care of this many many survivors? How can you not speak about that? How can you not speak about the power of God?,” she said.

Through the laughs, McNair talked about her cancer diagnosis in 2014.

“I didn’t really know what the journey was gonna be. I know that every time that I hear something that I’ve never done before, fear always kicks in,” said McNair.

Putting fear aside, McNair is able to share her stories with the patients she cares for as a nurse at Mississippi HomeCare.

“When they have a patient with the same thing that I do that’s struggling, it’s real easy for them to say ‘hey, I got somebody that wants to talk to you.’ So I get to go talk to them,” she said.

Guests also decorated a banner; each painted hand print comes from a survivor -- the colors representing different kinds of cancer.

Last year's banner was on display, including the names of some of Sunday's guests.

As the event came to a close, McNair had advice for anyone who may have been recently diagnosed, "Ask as many questions as you can, learn as much as you can about this disease. Don’t let denial be the factor that keeps you from not seeking medical help.”

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