June 2nd, 2017

The JPS Center for Cancer Care isn’t open on National Cancer Survivors Day, the first Sunday in June, but that would never stop this team. It’s simply not in their nature to forgo a chance to celebrate their patients.

Dancers Celebrating

Music filled the Center on Thursday. Dancers entertained patients and their family members, who entered drawings for gift baskets assembled by the team, who also provided 200 free meals from a food truck serving up gourmet tacos.

On an average day, about 125 people come for treatment at the JPS Center for Cancer Care, north of the main campus at 601 W. Terrell Ave., where a dedicated team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals treats the signs and symptoms of cancer but sees patients as people, endeavoring to meet all of their needs.

At the Center for Cancer Care, a 52-year-old patient named Linda finds hope. “It is the loss of hope that will kill you,” she says. “Without hope, you die.”

Waiting in line for tacos, a Fort Worth native named Steve, 55, recalled the day that Dr. Latha Neerukonda told him he had cancer. “I said, ‘Am I going to die?’ And she stood up and she hugged me.” Six years later, he is in remission, which he says would not have been possible without Neerukonda and JPS. Employed at the time but without insurance, “I wouldn’t be here,” he says, wondering aloud, “I wonder what people do in places where they don’t have a JPS?”

“I’d be dead,” echoes 52-year-old Kerry, another Fort Worth native, mother and grandmother. On her second round of chemotherapy, she receives assistance from the JPS Connection program, which provides care at reduced rates for Tarrant County residents with limited income.

National Cancer Survivors Day is June 4. In its 30th year, the event celebrates the 15.5 million Americans living with and beyond cancer, and more than 32 million cancer survivors worldwide.

“Life after cancer is about more than just surviving,” says Laura Shipp, spokeswoman for the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation. “Over the last few decades, we’ve made great progress when it comes to cancer survival. And that’s absolutely something to celebrate. However, as many survivors will tell you, the effects of cancer don’t end when treatment does.”

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