WILKES-BARRE — A picnic lunch, and stories of survival were shared in Luzerne County on Sunday.
Dozens of cancer survivors and their loved ones met in Wilkes-Barre to talk about treatment and remission and to plant another tree of hope.
There were sweet sounds of a saxophone and hot dogs on the grill at Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre.
“Years ago, when you were diagnosed with cancer, it was like a death sentence. It doesn’t have to be any longer,” said Ginny Snyder-Ashman of Archbald.
The gathering was one of hundreds across the country for national Cancer Survivors’ Day.
The Wyoming Valley chapter picnic was organized by Dr. Norman Schulman and radiation medicine specialists in Forty Fort.
“Being diagnosed with cancer is a negative aspect of someone’s life, but the fact that there’s such great treatment today, people respond and live longer. I think it’s important and it encourages them to move forward and be happy,” said Dr. Norman Schulman of Radiation Medicine Specialists.
Cancer survivors had their faces and ankles painted, while sharing stories about treatment and remission.
Cynthia Post wrote three books about her battle with breast cancer, and her friends’ struggle with the diagnosis.
“What better way to deliver on how to change, not to be afraid, to lean on, to be friends with people who are going through a difficult time because when people are going through a difficult time, they need you. They don’t need you to run away and be afraid,” said Post.
The group planted another “survivor tree” at Kirby Park.
A growing number of reminders planted by a growing number of cancer survivors, inlcuding Ginny Snyder-Ashman, who has been in remission for 15 years.
“When we’re together in numbers, we’re much stronger. When you’re alone, and you have a situation, it’s harder to deal with,” said Snyder-Ashman.
Statistics from the northeast regional cancer institute said more than 2,000 people who live in Luzerne County are diagnosed with cancer every year.