New attitude for cancer survivors

New attitude for cancer survivors

Singer, actress Patti LaBelle to speak at annual event

May 17, 2006

Multiple Grammy-award-winning singer, actress and author Patti LaBelle will be the keynote speaker at the University of Chicago Medical Center's 17th-annual Cancer Survivors Day celebration.

The event will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 3, 2007, at the Westin Hotel, 909 N. Michigan Ave. It is for anyone who has had cancer, plus friends or family members. Each year, nearly 1,000 people attend the celebration, which includes education about cancer treatments and survivorship as well as food, entertainment and--more often than not--dancing in the aisles.

LaBelle, a two-time Grammy winner, released her first hit song in 1962 and her recordings have remained on the charts for more than four decades. Patti LaBelle & the BlueBelles, formed in 1965, produced a series of popular rhythm and blues songs in the 1960s and 70s. In 1974 they became the first African-American act ever to appear at New York's Metropolitan Opera House, where they introduced their classic, "Lady Marmalade." Two years later she began her solo career and in the 1980s she also began acting, appearing on Broadway and in several films.

LaBelle has recorded more than 30 albums, and still counting, including Burnin', which won the Grammy for Best Female R&B performance in 1991. She won a second Grammy in 1998. She has won multiple achievement awards within the entertainment industry and had a hit television series.

LaBelle has also published four books, including her autobiography, Don't Block the Blessings: Revelations of a Lifetime, and two cookbooks for people with diabetes.

After three of her sisters were diagnosed with cancer and subsequently died of the disease, she became a dedicated volunteer for the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute. All the proceeds from her latest gospel CD, The Gospel According to Patti LaBelle, released on November 21, 2006, are being used to support cancer research.

Cancer Survivors Day is an annual, worldwide celebration of life. Participants unite in a symbolic event to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality. The University of Chicago Medical Center has sponsored a Cancer Survivors Day celebration since 1990, the oldest such event in the region.

"Events such as this one can take away some of the stress that comes with a diagnosis of cancer, comfort those who are going through treatment and help celebrate the many successes of modern cancer therapy," said Peggy Williams, director of psycho-oncology programs at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

"This gathering is a chance for cancer survivors to see old friends, chat with their caregivers in a non-clinical setting and rejoice in their triumph over cancer," Williams said. "It also allows newly diagnosed patients to meet with hundreds of long-term survivors, walking evidence that there is good reason for hope despite a cancer diagnosis."

Admission is free, but participants are requested to make reservations by calling 1-888-UCH-0200.

Cancer Survivors Day events include:

Noon to 1:00 p.m.
Refreshments, mingling and a chance to visit information booths about products for cancer patients and survivors.

Welcoming remarks from Jon Duncanson, CBS-2 news anchor and master of ceremonies.

Remarks from surgical oncologist and breast cancer specialist Asha Chhablani, MD, Clinical Associate in the Department of Surgery.

Entertainment by Lynne Jordan & The Shivers.

Keynote speaker Patti LaBelle