07 NOVEMBER 2017

Annual Cancer Survivors’ Retreat - At HortPark

Contributed by: Dr Khoo Kei Siong

Celebrating life at HortPark

Today, about half of all patients diagnosed with cancer will survive their disease. To celebrate their own journey, about 200 participants gathered at HortPark for Parkway Cancer Centre’s annual cancer survivors’ retreat in September 2017.

This year, besides survivors and their caregivers, for the first time, the event was also opened to members of the public. In his opening address, Dr Khoo Kei Siong, Deputy Medical Director of Parkway Cancer Centre noted the importance of having someone to walk alongside a patient’s cancer journey. He encouraged everyone to support his or her loved ones, colleagues, and friends who might be battling this disease.

Forty-six-year-old breast cancer survivor Tina Wong initially told no one outside of her family about her cancer. Those months were the darkest moments of her cancer journey, where she often found herself slipping into depression. Things changed after she opened up. Her friends started to text her often, offered companionship, and even accompanied her for radiotherapy sessions without her having to ask. “Their presence made the treatment less daunting,” she said. Today, she has completed her treatment and is proud to celebrate her survival.

Tina was at the retreat event with her sister and two friends. They were treated to an array of events ranging from mass yoga, art therapy, terrarium-making and an innovative bike-juicing station – where participants pedalled on a retrofitted bike that connects the wheel system to the blade mechanism of a juicer – sending the underlying message that hard work would eventually pay off. This includes working hard to adopt a positive mindset which can be an important strategy in helping a patient confront, fight and manage his or her cancer.

Participants were also treated to a special showcase by eight cancer survivors who put on a surprise fashion walk to much cheering from the floor. They walked confidently down the aisle and smiling with pride. Amongst them was Katherine Goh, 48, breast cancer and thyroid cancer survivor. She says: “We want to show everyone that even if we have cancer, we can still lead a vibrant life, no matter what phase we are in. Treat every day as a gift.”

Written by Chua Hwee Leng
TAGS cancer caregiver, cancer positive thinking, cancer survivor events, cancer survivorship