Supportive Care And Survivorship Day

June 8, 2016
By: Karen E. Butler, Director of Communications, DCI

Ben Helton bonds with Pets At Duke golden retrievers while their therapy partner and Pets At Duke volunteer Lisa Well looks on.The cancer journey is challenging at best. Consultations with multiple oncology specialists, surgeries, infusions and radiation are just par for the course. With so much focus on the disease, a day of rejuvenation is just what the doctor ordered.

“Our patients are our heroes,” said Steve Patierno, PhD, deputy director of Duke Cancer Institute. “They teach us and inspire us to keep up our relentless battle against cancer. It is our honor to be able to provide them with what DCI is known for, groundbreaking cancer research that translates into leading-edge treatments and cures, delivered with warmth and compassion. It is a great privilege to be able to offer our patients a day of celebration and some much needed pampering.”

Chef and foodie Sueson Vess, Special Eats, demonstrates the art of preparing "foods with benefits." Vess, an ovarian cancer survivor, believes in cooking with "love and passion." To learn more, visit supportive care and survivorship event, Rejuvenate And Educate, was hosted by Duke Supportive Care and Survivorship Center and held at Duke Cancer Center on Wednesday, June 1, from 2 to 7 p.m. The event, which attracted more than 300 patients, survivors and caregivers, featured spa-inspired activities and informational breakout sessions. The event concluded with a panel discussion featuring DCI faculty, including Shelley Hwang, MD; Donald McDonnell, PhD; Daniel George, MD; Michel Khouri, MD; and Cheyenne Corbett, PhD.

Activities included makeovers, hairstyling, massage, gentle yoga, food demonstrations and much more. Ben Helton, 6, who is battling Ewing sarcoma, opted to hang out at the Pets At Duke station where he became fast friends with Abby, a golden Labrador retriever.

DCI deputy director Steve Patierno, PhD, moderates the panel discussion featuring Duke faculty, including Cheyenne Corbett, PhD; Daniel George, MD; Donald McDonnell, PhD; Michel Kouri, MD; and E. Shelley Hwang, MD. The panel took questions from the audience for discussion.“Ben is doing great,” said his mother Carrie, smiling as she watched her son interact playfully with Abby. “This is his final day of radiation.”

Later in the afternoon The Hall Sisters, Jessica, Natalie, Valerie and Lydia, performed their renditions of old school classics, including “Lollipop,” a song written in 1958 by Julius Dixson and Beverly Ross.

“We’re so grateful to the volunteers and vendors who donated their time, skill and resources to make our first-ever supportive care and survivorship day a huge success,” said Doreen Matters, event organizer. “The entire community both internal and external, really rallied around this event.”

For more information on Duke Supportive Care and Survivorship Center, contact Denise Spector, PhD.

Photos by Jared Lazarus