NEWARK — More than 400 cancer survivors and their family members from Newark, Essex County and the region, recently celebrated life at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s 16th annual Cancer Survivors Day Celebration of Life luncheon. The theme for this year was “Seize the Moment.”
Every June, NBIMC’s Frederick B. Cohen, MD Comprehensive Cancer & Blood Disorders Center celebrates National Cancer Survivors Day by hosting the luncheon and to highlight four major points:
- To celebrate the survivor
- To inspire the newly diagnosed
- To support caregivers, and
- To educate and conduct outreach to the greater community.
“The Survivor Luncheon is held to celebrate life and to give our patients an opportunity to spend time with their physicians and fellow patients, outside of the hospital environment,” said John A. Brennan, MD, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey and Executive Vice President of Barnabas Health. “The luncheon also gives us an opportunity to thank Cohen Center patients for entrusting their care and their health to us at The Beth.”
Joining in the celebration was 89 year old Esther Kaufogiens, a 50 year cancer survivor. Mrs. Kaufogiens said, “Being a survivor means I raised my children and enjoy every day to the fullest, never giving up.” Mrs. Kaufogiens, a two-time cancer survivor and the mother of two, will turn 90 next month. She said a positive attitude and continued support from her family and the great medical care she has received over the last 50 years are two of the primary reasons why she continues to live and enjoy life today. She said, “I had confidence in my excellent surgeon who worked at Beth Israel Medical Center. I received excellent and compassionate care,” especially from Dr. Fred Cohen, who was the first physician to treat me 50 years ago and today from Dr. Maya Shah.
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center is home to the first hospital-based cancer center. Dr. Fred Cohen opened the center 50 years ago. Today, Dr. Cohen’s daughter, Dr. Alice J. Cohen directs the Cohen Cancer Center. Mrs. Kaufogiens said, “The Cohen Cancer Center is a wonderful cancer center that continues to help many patients.”
Dr. Alice J. Cohen said, “At the Cohen Center, our goal is early diagnosis and treatment. We see thousands of cancer patients every year; including 150 new breasts and 150 new lung cancer cases every year – our goal is to continue to provide outreach and education on breast health and overall healthy living and to reduce the incidence of cancer.” Dr. Cohen thanked Diann Boyd, RN, BSN, OCN, Clinical Nurse Manager and Aida Chiles, Luncheon Chairperson and Administrative Coordinator, both for the Cohen Center for their work with clinical care and keeping survivors and their families engaged on the road to the best health possible.”
Immediately following Mrs. Kaufogiens presentation, as in past years, the lights in the ballroom of more than 400 people were dimmed and cancer survivors for 1 to 5 to 10 years – all the way up to 50 year survivor, Mrs. Kaufogiens, gathered in the center of the ballroom where their candle of life was lit to celebrate their life.
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