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Cancer survivors, caregivers share stories at NRCI's Cancer Survivors Day event

Cancer Survivors Day.jpg

SCRANTON (WOLF) -- The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute hosted its 25th Annual Cancer Survivors Day ceremony Saturday in Scranton.

The event brings cancer survivors from across our region together to share their stories and support one another.

FOX56 spoke to one of those survivors about her personal journey.

“And I get asked all the time if I could change what happened to me and honestly I really wouldn’t.”

Rebecca Johnson is a survivor.

She was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 15 after experiencing cold-like symptoms back in 2009.

“Being 15 it was such a surreal experience. I had tons of friends, I didn’t know what to do about it, and I honestly wouldn’t have been able to make it through without my family.”

Her mom and aunts drove back and forth from their home in Wayne County to the Children’s Hospital in Danville, and during treatments Rebecca’s dad would sing for her to lift her spirits…

But her mom says, Rebecca did most of the spirit-lifting herself.

“She handled it so good. She had such a positive attitude. I would lay there crying, she’s like, mom don’t cry. And she’d tell me jokes, and she was always laughing and singing and she taught me so much,” Angie Johnson said.

Now, Rebecca is an eight-year cancer survivor and she says she wouldn’t change a thing.

“I wouldn’t be who I am today. I mean, it made me stronger, it made me live each day to the fullest.”

She shared that message today at McDade Park in Scranton, in the Circle of Survivors for the Northeast Regional Institute’s 25th Annual Cancer Survivors Day.

About 50 cancer survivors, patients, and caregivers gathered to hear each other’s stories and offer support to one another.

“You get told every day when you tell someone you had it that they’re sorry and they understand, but they don’t really understand,” Rebecca said.

Rebecca says sometimes she feels alone when she thinks about her battle and having other survivors to talk with today made her feel like she was part of a community.

Her mom Angie feels the same way.

“I’ll come every year. This was amazing. And I think this will help me even more to handle it.”

Rebecca says in the future she’d like to help others affected by cancer and had wise words to share with them.

“I look at today and I look at my family and I look at people going through it and one thing that got me through it was just thinking positive, laughing, smiling, being happy. And I just encourage people to do that.”

The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute will host another Cancer Survivors Day next Saturday.

This time at Kirby Park in Kingston from 10 a.m. to noon.

Anyone interested in attending can pre-register by calling (570) 941-7984 or visiting www.cancernepa.org. Walk-ins are also welcome.

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