Presbyterian pays tribute to cancer survivors
When Keesha Carter was diagnosed with cervical cancer three years ago, things changed for the Wingate resident. She had to adjust to new words like radiation and chemotherapy treatments, along with the aftereffects.
“It’s emotionally, spiritually and physically draining sometimes,” Carter said. “Your strength is not the same. I’m 30 years old and I feel like I have the body of a 60 year old.”
Carter made it through by talking to and learning about other survivors, people who endured the same or in some cases different types of the disease.Wanting to have that type of impact for other people, she said yes when Novant Healthcare called, asking if she would take part in a “cancer calender”.
The calender is a project developed four years ago by Novant Healthcare’s Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center. Each year cancer survivors are selected from different age groups and experiences to tell their story, with one chosen for each month.
“About four and a half years ago, one of the counselors here thought it would be a good idea to honor the survivors and give cancer patients hope,” support center manager Marsha Lambert said. “A lot of times, survivors want to give back. One woman, Ruth Reynolds, makes jewelry. She takes her jewelry and donates to women at the cancer center. Keesha’s another good example.”
Patients are nominated by members of their healthcare team in May, then the nominations are narrowed down. In July, each of the nominees gets a phone call, asking if they would be interested in taking part. The center then brings in a photography and design team, Lambert said, to take shots of the final twelve, who bring with them something or someone that has a special meaning, to the photo shoot.
“People bring family members with them, maybe a pet, a microphone or just something inspirational,” Lambert said.
For Carter, that item was a microphone. A performer since childhood, Carter had modeled and worked as an actress. More importantly, Carter said, she just wanted other cancer patients to know it’s not hopeless.