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Release: May 30, 2000

UI Cancer Survivors Day celebration to be held June 4

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- For this year's National Cancer Survivors Day, the University of Iowa Cancer Center is throwing a party with magic tricks, prizes and a special salute to the patients and families who continue to celebrate life after the diagnosis of cancer. That sentiment carries into the theme for the event, "Celebration of Life," taking place from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 4 on the Colloton Pavilion Patio at the UI Hospitals and Clinics.

The sixth annual UI Cancer Center Survivors Day brings with it an atmosphere of good spirits and festivity. Organizers of the event chose to present a carnival to draw in the audience and make them feel a part of the event, said Jeanette Peck, UI Cancer Center staff nurse and chair of the planning committee for Cancer Survivors Day. Magician Lee Iben will pull rabbits out of his hat, radio personality Mark Allen from Iowa City radio station 100.7 FM ("The Fox") will emcee the afternoon, and participants will try their luck at an old-fashioned cake walk. Amidst the games, clowns and face painting, the true intention of the celebration will shine through.

"We want this day to recognize patients for going through treatment, to honor them for their strength. Cancer Survivors Day gives our staff the opportunity to see patients healed or healing, and it is our hope that cancer survivors interact with each other at this event," Peck said.

Providing a place and a time for patients to spend time with each other away from treatment is an important idea to convey. An expected 350 people will attend, and all family members, friends and patients are invited, regardless of the time they've spent as patients.

"We want to stress that anyone with the diagnosis of cancer is welcome. Whether it's been six months or many years, we're celebrating each day," Peck said.

National Cancer Survivors Day was established 13 years ago by Richard Block, co-founder of H & R Block. The UI event is sponsored by the UI Cancer Center and supported by gifts from various pharmaceutical companies' representatives.

A butterfly release will close the afternoon's programming. Between 30 and 40 monarch and painted lady butterflies, raised by Joan Felkner, an information specialist with the Cancer Information Service, will bring graceful closure to a day of enduring strength and spirit.

"Originally the idea of a butterfly release occurred to me because butterflies go through incredible life change, just as a cancer patient goes through a number of changes after receiving a diagnosis of cancer," Felkner said. "We want this to symbolize hope and tell patients that there is hope for them."

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.