Monday, June 03, 2002

Cancer survivors take Sunday cruise

Nearly 800 gathered on Belle of Cincinnati

By Stephenie Steitzer,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Nick Williams learned he had cancer in his vocal cords 11 years ago.

        On Sunday, National Cancer Survivors Day, the 78-year-old traveled from Grindstone, Pa., to cruise along the Ohio River on BB Riverboat's Belle of Cincinnati with other cancer survivors.

        “I came to celebrate with my son-in-law,” he said.

        Nearly 800 people boarded the boat at Covington Landing to eat lunch, listen to speakers including Ohio's Deputy Secretary of State Beryl Anderson, and share stories of their battles with cancer.

        Events were held in more than 700 communities across the country Sunday to honor the 8.9 million Americans who are surviving cancer, according to the American Cancer Society Web site. The society predicts 25,000 people will die of cancer in Ohio in 2002, 13,000 will die in Indiana and 9,000 will die in Kentucky. An estimated 109,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in the Tristate this year.

        This was the ninth year University Hospital has organized the three-hour excursion.

        “This event shows people survive cancer,” said Carolyn Thomas, vice president of patient care services at University Hospital.

        Many of the survivors and their guests, like Barb Luca and her grandson Austin Luca, come back every year for the cruise.

        Ms. Luca, 49, of Delhi Township, is a six-year breast cancer survivor. She and her six-year-old grandson have been on the past three cruises.

        “Other survivors just kind of know what you go through,” she said.


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