Sunday, June 9, 2013

Celebrating Cancer Survival With Susan

On Friday the 7th, Susan invited me to be her guest at an annual luncheon held by Cedar-Sinai for cancer survivors. 

It was very touching, humbling, and invoked a lot of gratitude. 

 There's Susan laughing at me being a photo journalist. 

An "In Memory Of..." Billboard. It was almost full by the time they took it down. 

Another booth showed examples of how big tumors could be. Susan pointed out the one size that was closest to hers. 

 What we were slated for. The special guest speaker Susan Schnell has survived 5 different cancers since 1966. 

Our fancy salad and bread. We ate at the Sofitel hotel. Food was delicious, especially the sorbet we had for dessert! 

Susan, taking a pic of her lucky little talisman, Pogo. He's been on every appointment with her since he was gifted to her by one of her art students.  

Here is Susan Schnell. Quite a remarkable woman. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. We gave her a standing ovation by the end of her speech. 

This is one of Susan's doctors, Dr. William Audeh. He shared stories of other patients and their survival. A very warm, sweet man. Susan says he listens to her, takes his time, and really cares about what she's going through. From what I've learned that isn't always the case for cancer patients. 

We sat a table with survivors, their companions, and it was wonderful to see them support each other in their same but different journeys. The closing speech was very moving as the last doctor told us what Cedars is up to, and their plans for cancer research. It's quite amazing, really. 

It was especially poignant as I sat there with Susan. It's even more so as I hung out with my friend Jen last night, who I haven't seen in awhile. She recently lost her mother to breast cancer. 

The numbers of those affected by cancer is astounding. All I can say to you, if you or a loved one is diagnosed, is to go out and gather as much information and research as possible. Make sure you ask questions. Make sure you find support, it's a scary time, but truly, you are not alone. 

New pictures of Pogo, before and after lunch. Hee. These are from Susan's phone. 

Delicious sorbet!

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