Cancer Survivors Go To Camp

Some East Texas cancer survivors got away from the stress of everyday life.  They headed to camp.  The piney woods and lake was a nice change of scenery.  Cancer survivors are spending time together at ETMC's "Great Getaway".

Crafts and fishing are ways the cancer survivors can get to know one another and forget about the stresses in their life.  Margaret Skiles of Athens is a breast cancer survivor. It was her first year to attend the camp.  Margaret say, "It lets you rid yourself of the stress because through the week you go through your route of chemotherapy and radiation and things like that and it becomes very stressful and this is an outlet for us."  She enjoys the time away from home and the doctors office.  It's also a chance to meet others who have a similar experience.

Participants include cancer survivors, and those still going through treatment.  This event is designed, so they can share their experiences with each other.  Helen Shifrin, Planning Committee Member, says "It gives them a chance to get away from daily life, even your families members, sometimes you need to get away from everybody.that you are associated with and get out here and be with friends and if you weren't friends when you got here you will be friends before you leave."

Volunteer Marilyn McWilliams has been volunteering for 18 years.  Every year she sketches the portraits of the first time participants.  Marilyn says, "It was a gift I've always drawn people and I'm just giving it back "  Margaret says she looks to the long time survivors for encouragement.  And that's where she hopes to be in 20 years. A portrait of a survivor.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.