Hundreds of cancer survivors celebrate life at annual picnic

Hundreds of cancer survivors celebrate life at annual picnic

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) — Positivity was the mood at the 30th annual National Cancer Survivors Day Picnic.

For the first year, the Munson Medical Center event was held at the Cowell Family Cancer Center and was organized with the help of cancer survivors.

“We have a bigger message with prevention,” said Katie Horvath, Munson Medical Center’s cancer support services manager and a cancer survivor. “Survivors wanted that to be the case because everybody said, ‘gosh I want to be able to prevent myself from having a second cancer or a recurrence, but I also want to prevent anybody else I know from having cancer’.”

The day was filled with community spirit.

With each conversation and story shared, a person fighting the odds was reminded that they are not alone.

“I didn't realize how many people before have walked in my same shoes,” Erin Banton, Young Cancer Survivor Coalition member and cancer survivor.

Banton was diagnosed in June 2015 with stage one breast cancer, then in May was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.

Banton was at the picnic to support other young women facing the same battle.

“Knowing that I'm not alone and there are people there to help me and support me has really changed my outlook on it. That you can live a wonderful life with cancer. It doesn't mean that you stop living,” said Banton.

Another cancer survivor, Jennifer Szunko recently finished treatment for ovarian cancer.

Szunko came to the picnic with her daughter and says the support from her family and other cancer survivors is what has helped her get through the fight.

“If you do get a diagnosis it's not a death sentence because we have such a great facility here and you can survive,” said Banton.
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