Cancer Survivors’ Celebration and Bridge Walk

Making strides towards conquering cancer.

In May and June 2018 across Northwestern Medicine, thousands of people laced up their walking and running shoes to show their support for cancer survivors and for the physicians, scientists and other healthcare providers who touch the lives of countless people affected by cancer.

On Sunday, June 3, 2018, National Cancer Survivors Day, nearly 4,000 cancer survivors and caring supporters came together in Chicago’s Grant Park to participate in the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University’s 25th Annual Cancer Survivors’ Celebration Walk & 5K. Just a few weeks earlier, on Saturday, May 19, LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, part of Northwestern Medicine, held its 13th Annual Bridge Walk in Geneva, Illinois, along the Fox River. Like the Lurie Cancer Center’s Cancer Survivors’ Celebration Walk & 5K, the Bridge Walk brought together cancer survivors and those who care for them: family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, physicians, and other members of the community.

A spirit of camaraderie, as well as highly successful fundraising, marked both events. The Cancer Survivors’ Celebration Walk & 5K raised more than $317,000 to support Lurie Cancer Center’s research and patient care at Northwestern Medicine. Leonidas C. Platanias, MD, PhD, director of Lurie Cancer Center, welcomed the enthusiastic crowd. “All of us share a commitment to improving the lives of people with cancer, now and in the years to come,” said Dr. Platanias before he officially launched the Walk & 5K. Enjoying sunshine and warm breezes, participants shared experiences and words of encouragement with one another as they walked and ran along Chicago’s lakefront path. The festive event also featured music, a picnic, a performance by the Jesse White Tumblers and memorable speeches from cancer survivors.

Dr. Platanias remarked, “Our goal is not only to have more survivors every year, but also to help people live longer, healthier, better lives.”

This goal certainly was shared by all who attended the Bridge Walk, which raised nearly $314,000 in support of LivingWell. Motivated by the knowledge that nearly 14.5 million people in the United States are currently living with and beyond cancer, the Bridge Walk’s 1,600-plus participants took powerful steps to ensure that LivingWell will be able to continue to offer its full complement of 80-plus programs and services at no cost to participants.

Designed to benefit individuals living with cancer, as well as families and caregivers, LivingWell’s many programs include professionally led support groups; bereavement counseling; art, nutrition and exercise classes; and wellness-related courses.

“Through our Bridge Walk, we reaffirm our commitment to encouraging and empowering all those touched by cancer,” said Nancy Vance, director of LivingWell. “We are so inspired by the energy, generosity and caring of everyone who participates in the walk. Together, we can help to create more hope-filled futures for everyone who is experiencing a journey through cancer.”

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