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Over 4,000 Patients, Caregivers and Staff Join John Theurer Cancer Center’s 9th Annual Celebrating Life and Liberty Event
Story Number is : 092417105
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Hackensack University Medical Center

 
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On Sunday, September 10, John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading hospitals for cancer, celebrated its largest and most successful Celebrating Life and Liberty event yet at MetLife Stadium.

“It’s really a unique opportunity to bring together our patients -- to honor them and their loved ones for their successful journey,” said Robert C. Garrett, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “More than 4,000 people come to celebrate their good health, strength and courage, and our entire health network applauds them and are inspired by their courage and outlook.”

Andre Goy, M.D., M.S., chairman and director, and chief of Lymphoma, John Theurer Cancer Center and chief science officer and director of Research and Innovation of Regional Cancer Care Associates created the Celebrating Life and Liberty event in 2007, a day that gives patients and families an opportunity to come together and offer one another hope and support.

“When I started this event, I wanted to celebrate our patients’ journeys, in a day focused on them, their families, and caregivers. The success of this event has grown from a few hundred to over 4,000 participants -- testimony to the energy and human impact of this event,” said Andre Goy, M.D., M.S., chairman and director, and chief of Lymphoma, John Theurer Cancer Center and chief science officer and director of Research and Innovation of Regional Cancer Care Associates.

Twenty-seven years ago, the John Theurer Cancer Center completed its first bone marrow transplant – a foundation for the next generation of pioneering discovery and innovation in cancer care. Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., president of Physician Enterprise and chief innovations officer at Hackensack Meridian Health, led the team that performed that first procedure in 1990. Since then, John Theurer Cancer Center has become New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive cancer programs, and one of the most prominent centers nationwide, with more than 1,200 team members collaborating in a highly subspecialized and multidisciplinary environment.

“Each year, our celebration grows is powerful testimony to the meaning the event has to patients and caregivers. It is also an illustration of the continued progress against cancer,” said Dr. Pecora. “Our patients are the reason our team works tirelessly to provide the most state-of-the-art care and treatment options, and our research team remains dedicated to being on the forefront of discovery.”

Over the years, in addition to survivors sharing their stories in song, poetry, prose and performance, professional artists have energized and coalesced the diverse crowds with stories of hope and survival. The event brings together people of all walks of life, where cancer knows no race or religion.

“Cancer patients and survivors draw a collective strength, hope and inspiration from each other. Today is a day to celebrate those shared journeys,” said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., president of Hackensack University Medical Center. “All of us – physicians, caregivers, nurses, loved ones – draw on the optimism and commitment to embrace the best in life, and that spirit is what defines our Celebrating Life & Liberty event.”

Celebrating Life & Liberty included a performance by Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot, Celebrating the music of Billy Joel. The event was also marked by speeches as well as football themed activities, face painting, caricatures and inflatables. Additionally, more than 15 local and national cancer advocacy groups donated their time and resources to educate patients about networking, support and cutting-edge research.



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