Annual cancer survivors' picnic focuses on hope

Cancer survivors day
Cancer survivors with family and friends enjoyed activities and barbecue luncheon.

If there was a theme at the May 30 Cancer Center Survivorship Picnic, it must have been hope.

Capping off National Cancer Survivors Week at UC Davis Cancer Center, dozens of survivors, their families and special guests gathered in the sunshine to enjoy a meal, swap stories, share insights and celebrate survivorship.

Even the keynote speaker, Lori Hope, playing off of her serendipitous last name, carried the message to the audience. A lung cancer survivor and author of Help Me Live: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know, Hope explained the importance of using what she calls “the hope card.”

“Don’t leave home without it,” she said. “All of us need hope. The hope card enables you to live, survive and thrive. It’s portable. You can take it anywhere. You can cultivate it. You can build on it.”

The event also featured a barbecue lunch provided by Outback Steakhouse, art exhibit with paintings and drawings by cancer survivors, children's activities, community booths and an American Indian Hupa dance demonstration.

Colleges against cancer booth
UC Davis chapter of Colleges Against Cancer

Cancer support groups and an array of other programs to benefit people who have been diagnosed with or treated for cancer provided information for visitors. Among them were yoga and other healing arts organizations, the Women’s Wisdom Project, which offers women with cancer an art and writing, and the Young Adult Advisory Board, which supports young adult cancer survivors.

The UC Davis chapter of Colleges Against Cancer gave small gifts to cancer survivors and shared their own experiences with cancer. Twenty-year-old Kirollos (Cookie) Gendi, a 10-year Ewing’s sarcoma survivor, said the group works to boost awareness and provide advocacy, particularly for those who feel alone with the disease.

Lori Hope
Keynote speaker, Lori Hope

“The key word is hope,” he said, emphasizing the day’s theme. “We know a lot of people who have friends and family members with cancer. We have to spread hope and let them know we are here for them.”

National Cancer Survivors Week was offered by UC Davis Cancer Center's Outreach Research and Education Program, which is dedicated to reducing cancer health disparities, enriching the lives of patients and their families, and supporting those interested in learning more about cancer risks, prevention, early detection and research. The week also featured events to showcase the cancer center’s Writing as Healing and WeCARE Peer Navigator programs.