Most days we try hard not to forget those that have struggled and persevered through what life has thrown at them. On Saturday night the sixth annual Chippewa County Cancer Survivor’s Reco-gnition Supper was held, celebrating, remembering and fighting back with the survivors of cancer in our area.
“It’s about recognizing the survivors and giving them a special evening,” Linda Lopez, Chippewa County survivorship chair said.
The night started out with an introduction of the honorary survivors. These survivors were picked from the five towns that make up Chippewa County; Clara City, Maynard, Monte-video, Milan and Watson.
“We place an ad in the paper asking for nominations of people who have been a survivor of cancer,” Lopez said.
While they don’t always have one from each town every year, they always have five who are honored. Five whose family, friends or even themselves wrote to the committee members and told them their story.
“We hope that the night shows them that there are other survivors in the county and that they are not alone,” Lopez said.
Those that attended, all survivors of cancer and their families, at least 100 enjoyed a meal and musical entertainment. Pam Knapper directed Garrett Struxness, Andrea Ulferts, Taylor Slagter and Ben Schoep individually in their music selections they performed beautifully for the audience.
“The music is a way for the community to give back to the survivors too,” Lopez said.
After the music the five: Deanna Meints of Clara City, Lori Formo of Maynard, Joel Lund of Milan, and Jocile Olson and Colleen Redel of Montevideo were presented with a gift and had their stories shared with each other and with those in attendance.
“The biographies are their cancer journey,” Lopez said. “It’s the toughest part of the night but it’s the most important.”
Every year the supper is held in a different town, the five towns share hosting duties for the survivors and the honorees.
“It shows them that they are not alone, that people really care,” Lopez said.
At the end of the evening they acknowledge the years of survivorship in the room. The years people have lived past their struggle with cancer can be as amazing as one or have lasted as long as 25 and over.
“It helps them realize that they can rely on other survivors and caregivers in the room and in the county.”
For Lopez the night is about forming a community of survivors, a community of caregivers and a community of belonging. It’s about honoring the years that they have lived and fighting back for more.