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VOL. 115 | NO. 104 | Friday, June 1, 2001

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Riverboat ride to celebrate life for cancer survivors Week celebrates life of cancer survivors By MARY DANDO The Daily News The Memphis Cancer Foundation, Flying Colors Cancer Resource Center and the Memphis Cancer Center invite area cancer survivors to "Celebrate Life" during a riverboat ride on the Memphis Queen Sunday. In honor of National Cancer Survivors Day, "Celebrate Life" offers Memphis area cancer survivors and one guest a free afternoon full of entertainment and refreshments while relaxing on the Mississippi River. "We are committed to enabling people diagnosed with cancer to see that they do, indeed, have a future," said Sandy Lewis, president of the Memphis Cancer Foundations board. "Our annual Celebrate Life event is a day filled with happiness and hope, as well as courage and inspiration for everyone involved," she said. Through the involvement of the Memphis Cancer Foundation, Flying Colors Cancer Resource Center and the Memphis Cancer Center, this annual celebration has been part of Memphis since 1989, a year after the national observance was established. Although there is no charge for the riverboat rides Sunday, seating is limited. Anyone wishing to take part should call 821-9215 and make a reservation. Information is also available at www.memphiscancerfoundation.org or www.memphiscancercenter.com. Over the years, Memphis area cancer survivors have celebrated life with The Big Silly Picnic, Warrior Women (now permanently installed at the Memphis Cancer Foundation and the Memphis Cancer Centers offices at 1068 Cresthaven) and riverboat rides. Cancer is second only to heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States. One out of two men, and one out of three women will develop cancer. The good news is an estimated 8.9 million people are now survivors of the disease. National Cancer Survivors Day America honors survivors who are living with and beyond cancer, and also recognizes those professionals who are helping fight the battle against the disease. The annual celebration of life for cancer survivors began 14 years ago when cancer survivor, H&R Block co-founder Richard Bloch and his wife, Annette, held their first Cancer Survivor Rally in Kansas City, Mo. The event is now an annual, nationwide celebration of life, held in more than 700 communities throughout America. National Cancer Survivors Day is scheduled in most communities on the first Sunday in June. Local celebrations of National Cancer Survivors week kick off with the riverboat ride from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday organized by the Memphis Cancer Foundation and end June 9 with another Celebrate Life event in Shelby Farms. Organized by cancer survivor Virginia Steele, who was first diagnosed with colon cancer eight years ago, the Shelby Farms event will include family entertainment and activities, information on prevention and nutrition, health care and treatment options and testimonials from cancer survivors. Headlining the event is Mickey Thomas, who as lead singer with the band Starship in the 1980s had hits with songs "Sara" and "Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now." He joined the band in 1979, replacing Marty Balin and Grace Slick. Celebrate Life in Shelby Farms starts at noon June 9 with Gerry Finney and his band. Music is followed by cancer survivor and "Survivor" participant Sonja Christopher, who appeared in the first outing of the reality television show. Other entertainers include Tom Dick and Harry, and singer/songwriter Tricia Walker, who had songs recorded by singers such as Mel McDaniel, Moe Bandy, Faith Hill and Patty Loveless. Walker will perform in the closing ceremonies at 4 p.m., which also includes a cancer survivors parade and raising of flags. In the family area, face painting, a petting zoo, pony ride, Boy Scout demonstrations and other activities will be capped off by Roger S. Baum, great grandson of "Wizard of Oz" author Frank Baum, who will sign books he has written continuing the Oz series. "While this is a big day and a big celebration that highlights a big issue for our community, its main purpose is to honor each of the individuals young and old, rich and poor, and of all races and cultural backgrounds who have successfully won the battle against cancer," Steele said. Those wanting to know more about the "Celebrate Life" festivities in Shelby Farms June 9, should call 683-0055, Ext. 1017 or get information at www.celebratelifememphis.com.
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