BY JOHANN HAMILTON
Janet M. said she was filled with hope.
At the annual Cancer Survivors’ Day, hosted by the North Shore-LIJ Health System, she was surrounded by others winning the fight for their own lives.
Janet, who was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, joined the nearly 2,700 guests at the Monter Cancer Center on Saturday, where Harry Belafonte was keynote speaker.
“My journey as an artist has rewarded me with so much,” he said. “Not just the opportunity to sing and perform, but to be engaged in civilization’s hunger for truth and to be more committed to that truth. Life’s all about putting things in perspective, and that’s what I do.”
Belafonte, a cancer survivor himself, praised the attendees for winning their respective battles with cancer. He ended his speech with some of his famous songs.
“I think this event is an affirmation of life,” said Daniel Budman, co-director of the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute. “Being diagnosed with cancer is horrible, but as medical research progresses it doesn’t necessarily mean there’ll be a horrible outcome.”
“It used to be just a diagnosis and a sorry, but lots of these diseases are treatable now,” he added.
Other speakers included oncologist and breast cancer survivor Monica Melville and North Shore-LIJ Health System chair Richard Goldstein. He described the audience not as survivors, but people who thrive on life.
“When I look around and see thousands of survivors, it gives me a feeling of hope,” said Janet. “I want to be able to come here one year as a survivor just like them.”
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