Lilies of the Valley celebrates cancer survivals
HUNTSVILLE – Sponsored by Lilies of the Valley, the “Celebration of Life and Remembrance” ceremony attracted approximately 100 guests to honor patients who both have survived and succumbed to ovarian cancer.
Lilies of the Valley, a support and awareness group for individuals dealing with the disease, hosted the event at their Meridian Street garden in downtown Huntsville on Sept. 27.
The audience included ovarian cancer survivors and their relatives, friends and healthcare professionals. Dr. David Engle with Tennessee Valley Gynecologic Oncologists cooked a barbecue dinner. His wife, Beth Engle, arranged the meal and decorated the setting.
“Beth Engle, who is on the Lilies board of directors, organized this event with one of our survivors, Tammi Scruggs,” spokesperson Regina Parker said.
“The Lilies enjoyed fellowship with each other and looking at photographs dating back to the group’s founding in 2004,” Parker said. Members dressed up with teal hats and made photographs with a handheld portrait frame.
In the main garden, guests lit candles. “Everyone joined in remembering the Lilies who have lost their lives to ovarian cancer in the past few years. Ten names were added to the ‘Statue of Hope’ to recognize those who had passed,” Parker said.
In addition, the group celebrated the years of survival. “Lilies struck a bell one time for each year of survival. The longest survival time represented was 27 years. Several members had one or two years of survival. All were acknowledged and encouraged to keep fighting,” Parker said.
Ovarian cancer, the deadliest gynecologic cancer, affects about 22,000 women each year in the United States. About 14,000 women die annually from the disease.
Symptoms are subtle and often go misdiagnosed until the disease’s late stages. Most common symptoms are bloating, abdominal pain, urinary changes and a feeling of fullness after eating only a small amount.
The Lilies of the Valley 501(c)3 organization supports women in the Tennessee Valley and works year-round to educate and spread awareness of
ovarian cancer. Donations fund the organization and their memorial garden, and volunteer survivors coordinate all awareness activities.
For more information, visit liliesofthevalley.org or Facebook/Lilies of the Valley Ovarian Cancer Support.