Jeffrey Acker, M.D., thinks he spent more time in the water than on the “Dunk the Doctor” platform during Moore Regional Hospital’s 2010 Cancer Survivors Day event. Dr. Acker, who is a radiation oncologist at Moore Regional, has also volunteered to take a turn in the “Dunk the Doctor” booth for the 2011 event that is scheduled for Sunday, June 5.
PINEHURST – Sunday, June 4, 2010, turned into a day of downs and ups for Drs. Sushma Patel and Jeffrey Acker. For most of that afternoon, they were dropping down into the water at the Cancer Survivors Day “Dunk the Doctor” booth and then climbing back up onto a temporary perch to prepare for their next soaking by an eagle-eyed Cancer Survivors Day ball handler.
They anticipate much of the same for the 2011 Cancer Survivors Day on the afternoon of Sunday, June 5, 2011.
Dr. Patel and Dr. Acker are radiation oncologists at the Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital. Last year, they and some of their colleagues volunteered to take turns in the “Dunk the Doctor” booth, a feature that turned out to be so popular that it will be repeated for this year’s Cancer Survivors Day program.
“Being in the ‘Dunk the Doctor’ booth was a lot of fun, although I think I was in the water more than on the platform,” says Dr. Acker. “We may have to increase the distance to the target this time. I was also a bit dismayed that the lines were so long. There was a lot of enthusiasm to throw those softballs and get us wet. Actually, I look forward to spending a lot of time in the water this year as well.”
Dr. Patel believes the patients enjoyed seeing their doctors in the relaxed “Dunk the Doctors” environment and interacting with them in a way that is very different from the typical doctor-patient relationship.
“I think the patients really enjoyed the opportunity to interact with us on a casual, fun event,” she says. “The chance to dunk us and see us in a vulnerable state allowed them to see that we were willing to be in their hands for a few hours. Cancer Survivors Day is a celebration of all that we have gone through together and what must be overcome to be survivors.”
The 2011 Cancer Survivors Day celebration, which is hosted by Moore Regional’s cancer care staff, is scheduled for Sunday, June 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst. The event will feature a “Living in Full Bloom” theme and plenty of opportunity for fun and fellowship.
National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual, worldwide celebration of life that is held on the first Sunday of each June in hundreds of communities throughout the United States, Canada and other participating countries. Participants unite in a symbolic event to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful and productive.
The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation defines a “survivor” as anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life.
“We will be celebrating our patients’ survivorship over cancer,” says Margie Thomas, clinical director of Radiation Oncology at Moore Regional and chair of the hospital’s Cancer Survivors Day Committee. “Cancer survivors face each day with courage and dignity, and we want them to know that they serve as an inspiration to us all.”
Cancer survivors and their families will be treated to a free afternoon of interactive games and activities, including Bingo, a cake walk and Plinko, as well as the “Dunk the Doctor” booth.
A Wellness Area will feature healthy smoothies, line dancing, and massage and pet therapy. There will also be a crafts area and the opportunity for photos.
A barbershop quartet serenade will kick things off at 2 p.m., and boxed lunches from Lunch Box That Rocks will be served to all those attending. In addition, each cancer survivor will get a daisy seed packet along with a small flower pot that can be decorated.
“It’s a day for cancer survivors to enjoy and express themselves as living survivors – like flowers in full bloom,” Thomas says.
According to Susan Bazinet, a nurse practitioner who works in Medical Oncology at Moore Regional Hospital, it’s always nice to see patients laugh and enjoy themselves as they take part in National Cancer Survivors Day activities. Bazinet also spent time in the “Dunk the Doctor” booth last year and will be back again this year.
“When we see our patients in the clinic setting, they tend to feel nervous or anxious at their visit,” she says. “At Survivors Day, it’s a very relaxed atmosphere. After my experience in the dunking booth last year, I felt a more personal connection to some of my patients. Although I was dunked too many times to count, I truly enjoyed myself and volunteered immediately to do it again.”
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital’s National Cancer Survivors Day celebration is free and open to cancer survivors, their families and friends and to the physicians and other health-care personnel who treat cancer patients. For more information about attending or for directions, call (800) 213-3284 toll-free.