Laugh Out Loud:
Jonna Tamases will perform
"Jonna's Body, Please Hold"
at this year's Survivors' Day
on June 6.
Celebrate Survivors' Day June 6
Marcia Leonard, co-director of the
Cancer Center Survivorship Program
Learn more about
When Ed Ernst was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma, he was given a 2%
chance of surviving. His wife, Peggy,
was told more than once that he might not
make it through the night. That was in
1999. Now cancer-free for more than 10
years, Ernst enjoys time with his six grandchildren,
four of whom were born after his
"You're a cancer survivor from the day
you're diagnosed," Ernst says. "It doesn't
matter if you''ve just started treatment, if
you've just finished treatment or if you've
been finished for years."
Celebrate cancer survivorship alongside hundreds of cancer survivors, caregivers, health providers, family and friends at the
Cancer Center's annual Cancer Survivors' Day. The theme, "Laugh Out Loud: A Cancerous Comedy," will provide an
upbeat, positive time. Join the chorus of laughter from 1-3:30 p.m., Sunday, June 6, at Washtenaw Community College in the
Morris Lawrence Building.
Ed and Peggy Ernst are longtime Survivors' Day attendees and members of the
planning committee for the event.
"I was one of the ones to make it through," Ed Ernst says, "and I have to
give something back."
The Ernsts said they almost didn't go to Survivors' Day the first time.
"We thought it would be a downer,"
Peggy Ernst says. "But there was a comedian that year and it was a lot of fun. He had us laughing until tears were running
down our faces."
She says it was important for her and her husband to find humor in negative situations and to find support with others who
are in similar circumstances.
"You have to find things to laugh about or you'd be crying all the time," she says. "The first time I attended the event, I felt so
good. It was very uplifting." She also says the event provides camaraderie for both survivors and caregivers. "You find out
you're not alone."
This year's Survivors' Day offers the opportunity to laugh with an award-winning
one-woman show called "Jonna's Body, Please Hold." The performance
features three-time cancer survivor Jonna Tamases, who takes the audience on a
journey with a sassy receptionist who takes calls from disgruntled body parts.
"We want to celebrate survivorship, to celebrate being alive, to celebrate the
moment," event coordinator Martha Laatsch says. "The number of people
surviving cancer is growing and we want to continue to reach out to survivors as an
institution with services and support."
After the presentation, there will be information tables on survivorship issues
and caregiver support, along with light refreshments, door prizes and conversation
available to attendees.
"No matter how grim a situation looks,
as long as you're breathing, there's reason
to celebrate and hope to be had," Peggy
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