Cancer survivors gather to celebrate |

Cancer survivors gather to celebrate

NWS Cancer1 JB 6-03-07

EDWARDS – Bridget Davis recalled how doctors, employees and volunteers at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center helped her make it through her breast cancer.Now she is helping a friend who attended a gathering at the Shaw Cancer Center do the same. “I can relate to what she’s going through because I understand her and I’ve been there, too,” said Davis, of Vail. Former cancer patients like Davis gathered with friends and family to celebrate surviving cancer on National Cancer Survivors Day, which has been held the first Sunday of June at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center since it was built in 2001.

McCoy resident Merill Hastings started the started National Cancer Survivors Day in 1987 after his wife overcame cancer, he said. “Why not concentrate on living with cancer rather than dying with cancer?” said Hastings, who also has founded International Cancer Survivors day. As a four-piece band played, laughter and conversation dominated the Shaw Cancer Center’s cafeteria, though others felt sadness. Susie Larson cried as her mother, Monika Larson, told of how her breast cancer had spread to other parts of her body.

“My thoughts are with my mom,” Larson said. Annette Ramer had breast cancer 27 years ago. The celebration was typical of the support that residents in the Vail Valley give each other, she said. “In the cities, you get lost in the shuffle – here in Vail, in the valley, there’s always someone here to help you,” said Ramer, of Singletree. “Here people become each other’s family,” she said. “If I’m going to be there for you, you’re going to be there for me.”

Jean Chatterton had seen some of the revelers stretched out in hospital beds with needles in their arms, or undergoing chemotherapy, she said. “We share a terrible disease and we’ve come out on the other side,” said Chatterton, chairwoman for volunteers at the Shaw Cancer Center. Survivors expressed their gratitude for the facility that offered them state-of-the-art treatment and caring doctors, staffers and volunteers, they said. “This is just an awesome place,” said Vona Elliott, El Jebel resident. “There’s nowhere else to go for cancer treatment.”

Without the Shaw Cancer Center, Davis would have had to go to Denver to get treatment for her breast cancer, she said.She glanced back at the group of women behind her. “They’re the ones who really get you through this,” she said. Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or

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