The crunch of peanuts, the pop of a baseball bat hitting a ball, and cheers from a sold-out crowd, added to the festive atmosphere that greeted more than 350 cancer survivors and their guests who recently celebrated National Cancer Survivors Day at the New Britain Rock Cats Stadium hosted by UConn Health Center.
“It is an honor to mark the 25th anniversary of National Cancer Survivors Day, “said Dr. Pramod K. Srivastava, director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center. Survivors Day is celebrated in hundreds of communities throughout the U.S. and Canada. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are 13.7 million cancer survivors in the U.S. today. A cancer survivor is defined as anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer—from initial diagnosis through treatment and beyond.
Guests enjoyed lunch and pregame activities with their health care providers and were entertained by UConn’s mascot Jonathan the Husky and the Rock Cats mascot Rocky. Before the game, Nicole McDermott, clinical coordinator at the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, sang the national anthem while survivors and their families held the American flag. Additionally, survivors had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch. John Vichi, two time cancer survivor and patient facilitator of the Bladder Cancer Support Group, the only group of its kind in New England; Maryann Depreaux, a two-and-one-half-year cancer survivor; and Jim Reed, patient facilitator of the Head and Neck Support Group, were among those testing their pitching skills.
Virtus Mutual Funds and Millenium Pharmaceuticals sponsored this year’s event.
For more information about the programs and services offered at the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, visit cancer.uchc.edu.