Destination Celebration: CarolinaEast celebrates life with cancer survivors

Published: Jul. 24, 2021 at 9:03 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - The CarolinaEast Medical Center held a celebration event in honor of National Cancer Survivors Day at their SECU Comprehensive Cancer Center on Saturday.

The cruise-themed celebration called “Destination Celebration,” was for cancer survivors and those who may still be going through treatment. They were allowed to bring a guest to help celebrate at the Cancer Center.

Stephanie Vargo recently finished a year-long battle with breast cancer.

“With the chemo, you think “Oh, I’m gonna be alright,” Vargo said. “And it’s like when you get home, it comes over like a big blanket it’s like whoa and you get very tired, very thirsty. Nails are the worst. They get real brittle, and then you lose your hair.”

The event featured a casino table station for prizes, such as candles and canvas paintings, and a photo booth. Participants also got to drink complimentary mocktails on their way out of the building.

The event was sponsored by the Journey of Hope support fund which is a part of the CarolinaEast Foundation. The Journey of Hope is funded by community sponsors and donations and provided different forms of relief for patients at CarolinaEast.

“This is a very rewarding day because we put folks through a lot,” radiology oncologist Seth Miller said. “Cancer treatments hard on the body and the mind. So to be on a day where we get to celebrate being on the other side of that is pretty exciting.”

Journey of Hope volunteers such as Sheri Smith, who also helped organize the event, said she empathized with others.

“It is very personal, I am a two-time cancer survivor,” Smith said. “My first introduction into Journey of Hope was actually a chemo bag that was given to me almost 6 years ago.”

After the celebration, Vargo was overwhelmed.

“It’s great because I’ve seen these people everyday when I came for my appointment,” Vargo said. “Now it’s like I went through it, but it’s like wow I did it this year.”

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