Northwestern Medicine

Northwestern's Medicine Lurie Cancer Center Hosts 22nd Annual Cancer Survivors' Walk & 5K on May 31

Northwestern Memorial Hospital May 21, 2015

Thousands gathering in Chicago for the nation’s largest cancer survivorship celebration event

CHICAGO, IL  On Sunday, May 31, more than 4,000 people will gather in Chicago's Grant Park for the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University's 22nd Annual Cancer Survivors’ Celebration Walk & 5K. The event brings cancer survivors, families and friends together with the physicians, scientists and health professionals who support them to celebrate survivorship as well as advances in cancer research and care. Participants will have the option of joining a non-competitive walk or a chip-timed 5K run, both of which feature a scenic route along the lakefront. 

“This event raises awareness that cancer survivors are common, they are strong, and even when diagnosed with cancer, a person’s life can thrive,” said Sheetal M. Kircher, MD, Northwestern Medicine® oncologist and medical director of the Cancer Survivorship Institute at the Lurie Cancer Center. “This event is also great for me personally and my fellow health care providers because we are able to interact with our patients and other survivors outside of the hospital enjoying life.”

Scott Hamilton, a three-time cancer survivor, started attending the event regularly when it first began 22 years ago. It has been 25 years since Hamilton was diagnosed with and treated for both T-cell lymphoma and skin cancer. Last year he began treatment once again, following a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Hamilton set new goals for his life after he learned about his first two cancers, when his son was very young. One of the most important of those goals was to be by his wife’s side at their son’s college graduation. Now that his son has graduated from medical school and is training as a resident physician, Hamilton’s current focus is on enjoying life to the fullest with his family and friends, and part of that involves attending the Cancer Survivors’ Celebration.

“The Survivor’s Celebration and Walk is a wonderful event,” said Hamilton. “It is inspiring to see so many survivors and to share with them the joy of survivorship.  It makes you realize that, unlike 30 years ago when the ‘C word’ was almost the equivalent of a death sentence, the times have changed, and a cancer diagnosis is no longer automatically associated with a death sentence. Cancer is a disease that can be overcome.  And with more time and support devoted to cancer research, I am hopeful that cancer will soon be a thing of the past.”

Held on Sunday, May 31, this year’s Cancer Survivors’ Celebration Walk & 5K will take place the day before National Cancer Survivors Day, and will feature music, a picnic, entertainment, t-shirts, family-friendly activities, and the opportunity to sign the dedication wall.

“For many, cancer has become a manageable disease that can be effectively and successfully treated with the many advances that have been made in recent years and with early detection and precision treatments,” added Frank J. Penedo, PhD, director of the Cancer Survivorship Institute. “That said, cancer should not be taken lightly, and every new day in a survivor’s life is a day to celebrate. The Annual Cancer Survivors’ Celebration Walk & 5K provides us and our patients with a chance to do just that together, on a grand scale.”

Participants who would like to support the Lurie Cancer Center’s mission to overcome cancer have the option to create a personalized, online fundraising page or to join a fundraising team when registering. All funds raised will directly benefit vital cancer research to help develop more effective cancer therapies, and train the next generation of physicians and scientists. Donations will also help support the Lurie Cancer Center’s cancer survivorship and supportive oncology programs at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which are dedicated to improving the lives of patients and families. Fundraising is voluntary and no minimum donation is required. The physicians, researchers and health professionals of the Lurie Cancer Center and Northwestern Medicine® are committed to providing high-quality cancer care in the battle to overcome this devastating disease.

Advance registration for the walk is $15 online or at a wide range of city and suburban locations before May 29. Registration for the 5K run is also available online and at a wide range of city and suburban locations for $40 before May 29. Space is limited for the 5K and advance registration is highly recommended. Registration includes t-shirts (dri-fit shirts for runners) access to the picnic and all of the morning’s activities. To register and get additional details, visit Lurie Cancer Center's Cancer Survivors' Celebration Walk & 5K or call 312.695.1300.

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