Once considered a “death sentence” years ago, cancer now claims the lives of half as many people, said John DeMuro, supervisor of Government Relations for H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute.
That has led Moffitt to host a celebration in honor of one thing: survivorship.
For the second year, the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center will host an open house to celebrate Livestrong Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday in the Patient Library and Welcome Center on Magnolia Drive.
Livestrong is a campaign through the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which was founded in 1997 by Tour de France champion cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, according to livestrong.com.
In the ‘70s, about 1 million people survived cancer, DeMuro said. Now, the total number of survivors is more than 10 million.
“(Cancer is) life altering and it’s a challenge for survivors to get their life back,” he said.
The open house will serve as an opportunity for those affected with cancer and the general public to talk about the disease, DeMuro said.
He said that of the almost 1.5 million people diagnosed with cancer this year in the U.S., about 100,000 people are in Florida, and over 45,000 people will die from cancer in Florida this year.
“It’s celebrating those who are still with us and those who have passed,” DeMuro said.
One out of two men and one out of three women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime, he said.
“(The open house) is to connect with the movement, the energy to push back this disease,” DeMuro said.
USF and Moffitt partner to find ways to prevent or cure cancer, DeMuro said. The University’s Department of Pathology is housed entirely in Moffitt, and all doctors at the center are USF faculty members.
Livestrong wristbands and cancer information kits will be given out at the event. Attendees will also have a chance to win USF football tickets.
“There is no family that doesn’t have to deal with this at some point,” DeMuro said.