Fifteen survivors gathered in Durham earlier this month on June 4th to celebrate Survivor’s Day. It was a warm event filled with great memories and amazing food from Mez Contemporary Mexican, a lovely Mexican restaurant situated in Research Triangle Park.
This was my second event with LCI. I had volunteered at the previous Greensboro 5k and it was how I have found out about this internship. I had been running around and settings things up for the 5k, so I never really had the chance to listen in on what they were talking about during the event, so I was looking forward to being able to pay a little more attention to what was happening. It was about the size I expected but I was a little shocked at the age variation about those in attendance, many of the survivors were much younger than I would have expected from having lung cancer. Despite the somber reason that brought everyone together, every person that I had talked was in a great mood. Walking around I noticed everyone was greeting each like old friends, which is when I realized just how long people stay in touch in with this organization.
One of the great traditions that this event has is to go around the room and hear from every individual and what brought them to the event. It could be a survivor or their spouse, but it could also just be someone who volunteers their time with the organization. It helps bring life into perspective, and hearing every single unique journey is a humbling experience. It is also what makes this organization a quirky second family. After a while, you will continue to run into the same people at multiple events and it becomes expected to see them multiple times a year. It’s another group to help support you with your whole life, not just with lung cancer. You find lifelong friends who bonded over one of your greatest accomplishments, defeating cancer.
The dinner may only be two hours long, but the time you spent there is something you’ll remember for a lifetime.