EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- Today is National Cancer Survivor’s Day and to celebrate those who endured the fight, a local non-profit organization hosted a therapeutic day.
Cancer Pathways Midwest held their sixth annual Tristate Cancer Survivor’s Day at the National Guard Armory in Evansville to give survivors the opportunity to trade doctor’s appointments, scans and side affects with food, empowerment and fun.
Dozens of people came to support each other, including Heather Lawson and her daughter, Taylor Rusin, who know the impact of cancer all to well.
“My daughter Alexis, she was 18 and died a year and a half ago from ovarian cancer. We had only six months of notice until she died. And my husband died at age 35 from lung cancer and he passed on a genetic mutation on to my daughter,” Lawson says.
Rusin has Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, which is a mutation of a cancer suppression gene.
“It makes her susceptible to all kinds of cancers, such as Leukemia, any blood cancers, brain and breast cancers and liver sarcomas,” Lawson says.
Rusin says the mutation gives her a 50% chance of having cancer by age 30 and a 100% chance by the time she is 60. At 22 years old, she is taking the risk into her own hands.
“Having my bilateral myectomy reduces my chance of breast cancer by 90% and it was 100% before,” Rusin says.
Each year, Rusin undergoes MRI’s, colonoscopies and blood tests to help monitor her condition. In between appointments and scans, the mother and daughter duo check items off items on their bucket list.
“I would say I am living each day like it is my last day of being healthy. I want to go to Hawaii… we want to go on a cruise. We went on a hot air balloon last year, we have swam with dolphins, and we are possibly going to jump off an airplane,” they say.
During the cancer battles, the family says Cancer Pathways Midwest helped hold them together.
“They helped us when we saved our heads for Alexis. She wanted us to do it with her and they brought us wigs and scarves. It became our place to be when we can’t be anywhere else when we are living in limbo,” Lawson says.
To all those fighting cancer, Busin says “Keep fighting and find your support team and let them help you. Lean on them and don’t push them away because they love you and they mean well.”
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