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Cabell Huntington hosts annual Survivors Dinner

Oct. 10, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A month full of events focused on awareness, support and celebration for breast cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones continued Tuesday evening during a Breast Cancer Survivors Dinner at the Ramada Inn Limited along Hal Greer Boulevard.

About 200 current patients, survivors, their spouses, family, friends and caretakers participated in the event, which was hosted by Cabell Huntington Hospital.

The event, which historically has been hosted at the First United Methodist Church in Huntington, moved to a new venue this year to accommodate the increasing number of breast cancer survivors in the area, said Marsha Dillow, director of the hospital's Breast Health Center.

"First and foremost, it is a night to honor current survivors, their supporters and the survivors who couldn't be with us," Dillow said. "We want to make sure we accommodate them in any way we can, and, if that means a new venue, that is what we will do."

Hospital staff volunteered as servers during a three-course meal, which was accompanied by entertainment from Keith Matheny, a motivational entertainer. The event was emceed by WCHS reporter Darrah Wilcox.

The annual event has become a way for Gigi Gerlach, who served meals to guests at the event, to give a little something in return to patients, who, she said, give her so much already.

"I get to work with these people every day, and they inspire me," said Gerlach, a registered nurse who serves as the breast health navigator at the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center. "Whenever there is anything I can do to show my support to them, I will be there."

Tuesday's event is far from the last event the hospital will host as part of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The annual Memorial Balloon Release will take place at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at the hospital, and the Walk for Women will follow Sunday, Oct. 28, at Ritter Park. Registration for the walk begins at 12:30 p.m. at the picnic shelter at the park. For more information about the walk, visit www.wvwalkforwomen.org.

Dillow said she hoped survivors of all types of cancer could find inspiration in these events.

"We hope people have the chance to feel good about life," she said. "If we haven't had cancer ourselves, we all know someone who has been affected by some sort of cancer, and it's good when people just get to take stock in what is important in their lives, and hold on to it, and what is temporary and can be discarded."

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