First Person: A celebration for those touched by cancer
On Thursday, Aug. 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., there will be an event at the James Beck Cancer Center branch located at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander, called Celebration of Life…Believe in Today, Hope For Tomorrow. The public is invited to attend and share in this event whether they have been touched by cancer or not.
We recently caught up with Kimberly Hetland, radiation oncology manager, at the James Beck Cancer Center, to find out more.
Star Journal: What is the Celebration of Life?
Kim Hetland: The concept of a Celebration of Life came about five years ago when a group of staff members at the James Beck Cancer Center wanted to offer an event to our community for those whose lives have been touched by cancer, those who have lived and those who are living; to honor cancer survivors for their strength and courage; to recognize the contributions of their families and friends; to promote an awareness that knowledge, hope and inspiration can help beat cancer; and to emphasize the fact that cancer survivors can live active, productive lives even though they still face many challenges.
SJ: Where does the Celebration of Life take place?
KH: It takes place on the grounds of Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital, outside of the James Beck Cancer Center near a special area by the pond that has been named Reflection Point. The point was originally designed by Brent Hanson and brought to life and reality by Don Helgeson Landscaping. A great deal of thought was put into the design, considering the person or persons that would sit and look out at the water. In addition, a commemorative brick path has been started which will continue through the years to encircle the pond.
SJ: When will the event take place?
KH: The event will take place the evening of Thursday, Aug. 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Having the event on a weeknight is new for us. In the past we’ve always held the event on a Sunday afternoon. But taking in account today’s busy lives and short summers, we’ve decided to try an evening event with the hopes that more people can come and enjoy this special event with us.
SJ: What will take place?
KH: The event will begin with opening thoughts and reflection, followed by our guest speaker Mary Brodhead, a local cancer survivor who will share the story of her cancer journey along with her very special caregiver and companion, Renny, her standard poodle.
Her talk will be followed by the blessing of newly added shade trees around our commemorative brick path and a butterfly release. Following the main program, we’ll serve refreshments, cookies and ice cream. Attendees will also have the opportunity to tour the James Beck Cancer Center.
SJ: What is your favorite part of the Celebration of Life?
KH: The butterfly release is definitely my favorite part. Butterflies are so symbolic to this event, and can mean so many things to so many people. A new butterfly could represent a new life and freedom; much like a person beginning their cancer survivorship feels or it could represent one of God’s creatures flying up to the heavens to their loved ones that have passed on.
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