SSM Cancer Center in Lake St. Louis recently held its annual cancer survivor dinner called Strike Out Cancer and was a successful evening filled with laughter, family, and support. In attendance were over 160 people (half being cancer survivors).
In years past this event has been held in conjunction with SSM Cancer Center in St. Charles. However, holding a separate event in Wentzville permits Lincoln and Warren county residents a better opportunity to join the fun.
Cancer survivor and guest speaker, Renee D’Angelo, shared she became a survivor the day she was diagnosed in 2015. Bridget Foristal, SSM Cancer Center Medical Assistant, reinforced this by saying, “even if you’re still going to chemo, you are still a survivor every day you wake up.”
Elsberry resident, Anne Moe, was in attendance. Moe was diagnosed, and became a survivor, in January 2018. Moe attributes her success and cancer-free status to the care at SSM Cancer Center stating, “I will say until the end of time, I probably had the best care” and, “…they exceeded my expectations.” Moe also said the staff, specifically the oncology nurses, are, “some of the best ladies around who are very compassionate.”
When asked about Strike Out Cancer Moe said, “It was so neat!” Moe planned to attend last year’s event but could not due to being ill from treatment. This year Moe enjoyed being part of an informal, light-hearted night. She thought it was fun, “…just to see everybody, the nurses and staff, outside of the element.” Moe shared she grew close to staff while going through treatment, saying, “You find out about their families.”
It was perhaps Foristal who put it best; simply stating, “We become family.”
Foristal noted community partners are what helped make the night special. The Wentzville United Methodist Church opened their doors for the night’s event. Donations from places like The Karen Weidinger Foundation (sponsor), Texas Roadhouse, Chick-fil-A, Sam’s Club, the Wentzville Fire Department, and West Allen Grill made for great party favors, good food, and entertainment. And, being the event coordinator, Foristal’s plan is to continue to build off of 2019 successes.
Next year’s event is scheduled for June 9, 2020 at the Wentzville United Methodist Church.