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June 7, 2014

HERE'S TO THE SURVIVORS: Cancer Center holds celebration for cancer survivors

NEW ALBANY — Can you really blame someone for wanting to party after they’ve been informed they are cancer free?

That’s the mindset Fran Cohn, 67, New Albany, found herself in recently. Just more than a year after being diagnosed with breast cancer, she received word that the treatment had worked, and she no longer showed signs of the disease.

Cohn was ready to celebrate, and the timing was just right. Her treatment facility — Floyd Memorial Cancer Center of Indiana — hosted its annual Cancer Survivors Reunion on Friday, and Fran made her inaugural appearance at the event.

“They’re truly angels,” Cohn said of the Cancer Center staff.

While she had only recently been declared cancer free, the event welcomed others who have been survivors for decades.

Georgie Burch, 78, Jeffersonville, was declared cancer free almost 40 years ago. She had been diagnosed with stage 1 cervical cancer, and said she was lucky that the disease was discovered and that she survived.

Cancer patients and survivors need support and fellowship, Burch said, as it can be devastating when a person learns they have the disease.

“It was really a shock,” she said.

And since she has lived cancer free for almost four decades, Burch hoped she could pass on some inspiration Friday to those who are just starting to recover from the disease and treatment.

“I think it’s good for the other survivors to know they can survive as long as I have,” she said.

The Cancer Survivors Reunion has been hosted by Floyd Memorial for more than a decade, and officials expected about 200 people would attend the free event Friday. Families of cancer survivors also were invited to the event, and they enjoyed free barbecue, bingo and company.

“It’s a way to make new friends,” Cohn said.

Cancer Center of Indiana staff joined in the fun, and the network of survivors shared their experiences with each other.

“We want them to not only receive the best treatment at the Cancer Center, but to also have some fun,” said Chris Kahl, one of the organizers of the event for the center.

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David Bennett, Jeffersonville, is pictured at Riverview Village in Clarksville where he is undergoing rehabilitation after losing his leg due to diabetic complications. Bennett is a 1981 New Albany High School graduate, and was on the 1980 basketball team that finished the season with a 27-1 record.

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