Cancer survivors and those affected celebrate Cancer Survivor Day at Kroger Field

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — The UK Mackey Cancer Center, cancer survivors, patients and caregivers celebrated National Cancer Survivor’s Day at the ‘Expressions for Courage’ event at Kroger field on Friday.

National Cancer Survivor’s Day is the first Sunday of June and falls on June 4th this year.

Mackey says ‘Expressions for Courage” was created as a way for cancer survivors to encourage one another by sharing their cancer stories. Survivors from all over Kentucky attended this annual event.

The event featured an exhibit of original artwork from Markey patients, performances by UK healthcare music therapists and animal-assisted therapy with the UK healthcare canine counselors. There was also Tai Chi and yoga demonstrations, massages, acupuncture, a photo booth and a memorial wall, where those who attended could sign their name or write some words of encouragement.

Joan Scales, Coordinator of “Expressions of Courage”, says the event has grown since its start in 2014. Now they have multiple booths and activities for those who attend.

“We bring in our UK Healthcare Markey Cancer Center partners, to just really help us teach survivors what to expect when they are in survivorship mode,” says Scales.

The keynote speaker this year was Debra Faulk, a Lexington native, comedian and breast cancer survivor.

Faulk has been a survivor since October 2022.

She uses comedy to help teach others how to find the light in the darkness, but not everyone agrees with her method.

“Some how we’ve got to be able to laugh at all of this, right? But some people don’t like it when you find a way to with your pain. But, comedy is my cure for cancer,” says Faulk.

She also says that her two year battle was torment, full of not knowing what to ask and not understanding. Now she asks the hard questions and is not afraid to follow through.

Randy Blevins is an eight-year survivor of stage two pancreatic cancer. His battle started with what he thought was just a pulled muscle in his back, until he noticed he was jaundice one day after work.

“I finally got into UK for a CT scan and that’s when they found my tumor. And that was October 24th of 2014 and then after that it was kind of like a whirlwind,” says Blevins.

Blevins also says the hardest part was the chemo and radiation and then the checkups for the next six to eight months after that.

He is grateful for “Expressions of Courage” and how other survivors can share stories with each other and with patients still fighting. As a survivor, he hopes to be an inspiration to others and says “faith, family and friends” is what got him through his darkest time.

“In the past, when I heard of someone having cancer, you don’t know what to say. But after you’ve lived it, it’s like you can actually say I’ve bee there, done that, I know how you feel. And just try to be an inspiration to people.”

June is Cancer Survivorship month.

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