ZION, IL (June 8, 2012) – Darlene Pelham, a lung cancer survivor, attended Celebrate Life® 2012 at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern) — an inspirational and extraordinary celebration of five years of cancer survivorship.
Pelham, 61, of Platter, Oklahoma, and 195 other five-year survivors, from 36 states including Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Texas were joined by doctors, hospital administrators, clinical team members, caregivers and family members and members of the local community for a tree-planting ceremony, a reception and luncheon, and a Celebrate Life 2012 Survivorship Ceremony.
CTCA Celebrate Life revelers participated in a commemorative tree planting ceremony, which symbolizes the wonder of life and growth. Today marks the 24th year a tree has been planted in honor of each five year survivor, providing Lake County, Illinois a thriving forest of trees representing cancer survivorship.
During the ceremony, celebrants released five white doves representing each year of cancer-fighting survival while treating at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
The celebrants’ luncheon included delicious gourmet offerings of natural and organic foods, all of which were prepared by the culinary team from the Wholesome Bistro – the CTCA in hospital restaurant. Many of the menu items came directly from the CTCA created Wholesome Temptation cookbook, which offers cancer patients delicious, all-natural, easy-to-prepare recipes categorized by common cancer treatment symptoms such as taste changes, weight loss, sore mouth, and digestive challenges.
All five year survivors were honored on stage in front of family and guests for their exceptional courage, strength and determination – inspiring all.
After receiving a biopsy, Pelham tested positive for small cell carcinoma of the lung – lung cancer. “I was in a fog when I heard the word cancer,” said Pelham.
At the urging of her brother and youngest daughter, she sought help at CTCA. Not long after speaking with a CTCA Oncology Information Specialist to learn about treatment options available at CTCA, Pelham was on a plane to CTCA at Midwestern. “When I arrived, I met my entire care team, which included Syed Abutalib, MD, Hematologist and Medical Oncologist,” said Pelham. “He gave me his cell phone number and told me to call if I had any concerns or questions. I’ve never heard of that before.”
As part of Pehlam’s care plan, she treated with targeted radio-therapy, chemotherapy (Sutent) and integrative medicines. “CTCA at Midwestern is in this world to save lives. The doctors and staff not only heal your body, they heal your spirit,” said Pelham.
Darlene’s fondest memory at CTCA at Midwestern was when Chris Stephenson, DO, hospitalist and director of the Quality of Life Clinic at CTCA at Midwestern, asked me — what I would like to eat? I replied with, “Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, red beans, and cornbread.” Later that evening, the culinary team brought fried chicken, mashed potatoes, red beans and cornbread. “I was so excited to eat a meal that reminded me of my childhood, said Pelham.
Pelham sews and enjoys decorating. She is celebrating her five year survivorship by getting two riding horses. She has six grandchildren and one great grandson.
“At Cancer Treatment Centers of America, cancer patients and their families benefit from a fully integrated, personalized cancer treatment experience called Patient Empowered Care®, which includes state-of the art treatment protocols and complementary therapies delivered by an Empowerment Team of cancer experts,” said Anne Meisner, president and CEO at CTCA at Midwestern. “We empower our patients to take control of their cancer, and we treat each patient as though they are a member of our own family. It is our honor to share in and celebrate their survivorship journey,” she added.
About Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Founded in 1988, Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) is a network of cancer treatment hospitals and community oncology programs in Illinois, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Washington – with a future location in Atlanta, Georgia. CTCA provides a comprehensive, patient-centered treatment model that fully integrates conventional, state-of-the-art medical treatments with scientifically-supported complementary therapies such as nutrition, naturopathic medicine, psychological counseling, physical therapy and spiritual support to meet the special, whole-person needs of cancer patients with complex and advanced-stage disease. CTCA encourages patients and their families to participate in treatment decisions through its Patient Empowerment MedicineSM model. For more information about Cancer Treatment Centers of America, go to ca