In case you didn’t know or remember, the first Sunday in June is officially designated as National Cancer Survivors Day®, so I’m sharing some thoughts about it again this year. For various reasons, I’m just not that into it and I’ll try to explain why in this post. On their official website it says the following:
National Cancer Survivors Day® is an annual, treasured Celebration of Life that is held in hundreds of communities nationwide, and around the world, on the first Sunday in June. It is a CELEBRATION for those who have survived, an INSPIRATION for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of SUPPORT for families, and an OUTREACH to the community. On National Cancer Survivors Day®, thousands gather across the globe to honor cancer survivors and to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding, and even inspiring.
When I visited the website this year, I couldn’t help but notice there had been a small change made to the mission (it’s not stated that the above is the mission, I’m just referring to it as that here). And a treasured celebration of life? That’s a bit of an over-statement don’t you think? Treasured by whom?
As I shared in my post last year on this topic, the words on their website at that time said this:
“…It (life) may not be the same as before cancer, but it can be beautiful, rewarding and sometimes even better than before…”
Notice the changes? See the highlighted (my doing) in the last sentence in this year’s mission statement above.
Without a doubt, the revised highlighted (again by me) wording is much better, but still, I am just not that into this celebratory day’s designation.
Last year I wrote about why I can’t fully get behind this day, so again, you can read that post here if you want to. And of course, just because I am not that into it (NCSD), this doesn’t mean others can’t be. If fact, if you do embrace this particular celebration, I’d love to hear from you.
I do commend the support part and the outreach part, so I guess you could say this means I am half-way in. Sort of. I searched the website for some specifics about dollars (there’s lots of merchandise to buy) and what is done with those dollars, but didn’t find a clear explanation.
The whole idea of designating such a day feels too celebratory for my liking. And perhaps even a little patronizing too.
To me it sort of feels like getting a pat on the head for something I did not earn. I did as I was told. I survived and continue to survive not so much because of anything I did or do, but rather because I’ve followed a recommended course of action and because so far I’m lucky to still be NED (no evidence of disease).
Of course, this does not mean I am not grateful to be around, to be surviving. I am indeed grateful for this and many other things.
And by the way, why does it seem that when we choose not to conform to “accepted how to do cancer (including survivorship) etiquette”, it is often perceived that we are ungrateful?
Mostly, this day is troubling to me simply because it feels too celebratory for my liking. Just a little over a week ago yet another wonderful friend learned she has liver, brain, lung and bone mets.
What about her?
I bet she’s not feeling like celebrating right about now.
What about all those who have died?
Where’s their day?
I think there’s danger in making it sound as if we have successfully triumphed over cancer because we have not.
I have no idea how much money is donated for the patient support and community outreach part of what NCSD stand for. Kudos to whomever for any and all of that.
But as far as me getting behind National Cancer Survivors Day® and feeling all warm and fuzzy about it…
Not gonna happen.
I am just not that into it.
What about you?
How do you feel about National Cancer Survivors Day®?
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