In honor of Cancer Survivors Day, which is June 6, Anderson Regional Cancer Center is hosting its seventh annual “Handprints of Hope” next week.
Ginny Ruffin, the center’s oncology social worker/patient navigator, says the event began as a way to support cancer survivors and has grown each year since.
“We came up with the handprints, not knowing if it would be something that would go over at all,” Ruffin said. “It was very successful the first year, so we made it an annual event – it has definitely grown each year. It's a way we can honor our survivors and encourage our patients currently going through treatment. In 2019 we had 151 handprints and over a thousand years of total survivorship on that one canvas – that is tremendous.”
Vicky Knight, a five-year breast cancer survivor, said returning to the center each year to participate in “Handprints for Hope” is a privilege. She even participated virtually last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It gives you such a thankful heart,” Knight said. “All of the canvases hanging on the walls of the cancer center are daily reminders that this is indeed a battle that can be won. They give encouragement to anyone who is fighting.”
“The very definition of hope is the desire for a certain thing to happen,” Knight emphasized. “Every person’s handprint represents someone who hopes for someone else to become a survivor as they did.
“As a cancer patient when you finally come to the end of your journey and you are given the “all clear” from your doctor, putting your handprint on that canvas takes on a whole new meaning.”
Survivors are invited to come by Anderson Regional Cancer Center at 1704 23rd Ave. from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday, June 7 through Thursday, June 10 to put their handprints on a canvas. Ruffin said any cancer survivor is invited to participate.
“You don’t have to have had your treatments here, as long as you are a cancer survivor, you are welcome to come and put your handprint, along with your name and years of survival, on the canvas,” Ruffin said. “Even if you are under treatment, you're still a survivor.”
Ruffin said the motto of the clinic is “Standing Together.”
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“It shows we stand together with our community and also with our patients who are currently going through treatment and also our survivors to show you can survive cancer and move forward,” Ruffin said. “Whatever it takes to get them through this journey is what we want to do.