UConn Health Celebrates Cancer Survivors

Kevin Ollie, head coach of UConn men's basketball, signs the cap of a young fan during Cancer Survivors Day recently. (Lou Russo Photography for UConn)

Kevin Ollie, head coach of UConn men’s basketball, signs the cap of a young fan during Cancer Survivors Day recently. (Lou Russo Photography for UConn)

Kevin Ollie, head coach of UConn men’s basketball, is familiar with how cancer can affect a family.

Ollie recently told an audience of cancer survivors and guests about his mother’s treatment for breast and lung cancer during UConn Health’s 17th annual Cancer Survivors Day at Camp Chase in Burlington, Conn.

“My mother could have been treated anywhere in the country,” said Ollie. “But I wanted her to be treated at UConn Health because I trusted they would do what they said they would.”

Ollie thanked the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center physicians and staff who were involved in his mother’s care, and told cancer survivors they would come out of their treatment as better people because cancer does not get to define them.

Survivors Day is an annual celebration of life held in hundreds of communities worldwide to honor those who have survived cancer, inspire those recently diagnosed, and show support for families touched by cancer.

It is important to celebrate survivorship, said Pramod Srivastava, director of UConn Health’s Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Survivorship begins at diagnosis and extends far beyond the last treatment, because survivors face unique challenges,” he said. “We must keep developing new ways to help survivors meet those challenges.”

Participants enjoyed carnival treats and activities that included photos with UConn’s Husky mascot, took aim at their health care providers in a dunking tank, and danced to the sounds of local band, Shaded Soul.

Reflecting on the event, Wanita Thorpe, administrative manager of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, said, “Taking part in this special day is very humbling. I am amazed by the strength, resilience, and fortitude of our patients and their caregivers.”

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