​​​Image of The mural
The mural, pictured above, was painted by last year’s National Cancer Survivors Day event attendees during registration. (Photo: ELLICSR)​

This month, ELLICSR: Health, Wellness & Cancer Survivorship Centre hosted its sixth annual National Cancer Survivors Day event to honour cancer survivors. The theme was emotional wellness. The event featured an expert panel and various workshops that addressed emotional wellbeing for cancer survivors that included nutrition and healthy eating, intimacy, laughter yoga and creative writing.

Connecting cancer survivors

The event attracted 78 attendees including cancer survivors, friends and family. Every year, ELLICSR holds an event on National Cancer Survivors Day with the goal of connecting cancer survivors and providing a day of activities that is both enjoyable and beneficial for its participants.

"I wouldn't miss this event for the world. You learn so many things. It's so helpful and beneficial to be with people who get it; who know exactly what it's like to be a cancer patient," says event participant and cancer survivor, Patricia Turnbull, whose attended ELLICSR's National Cancer Survivors Day event for the last three years.

The day started with a keynote lecture from Dr. Gary Rodin, Department Head, Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. This was followed by a presentation and Q&A period with a panel of oncology experts including Dr. Alexandra Ginty, Deborah Aber and Jean Jackson, and Jon Eddington, a caregiver to his wife for two years.

'Seeing the patient as a whole person'

"The diagnosis and treatments for cancer affects both physical and emotional health, and effective treatments for cancer should not be just about treating the physical disease," explains Jennifer Jones, Director, Cancer Rehabilitation and Cancer Survivorship Program.

Image of The Food & Feelings workshop
The Food & Feelings workshop provided an interactive cooking and nutrition class for this year's participants. The workshop was held by, from left to right, Dietetic Intern Kelly Ringrose, Registered Dietitian Christy Brissette and Wellness Chef, Geremy Capone. (Photo: ELLICSR)

Other activities available at this year's event included the painting of a mural during registration, seated yoga and an experiential workshop on relaxation and the use of guided imagery.

​"The compassion that the hospital and medical care providers are showing now, seeing the patient as a whole person and treating the whole person not just the disease: I think that's wonderful," says Marilyn, event participant.   

ELLICSR at UHN brings together scientists, educators, health care providers and community cancer organizations to improve the quality of life for all those impacted by cancer.

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