Cancer survivors celebrate life

Cancer survivors celebrated life for the 27th annual National Cancer Survivors Day.

The 11th Annual Cancer Survivors Day was held at Myrtle Beach Convention Center from 12 to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

The Coastal Cancer Center and the Carolina Cancer Foundation invited all survivors and family members to celebrate life and connect with other local survivors.

National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual worldwide celebration of life. "A 'survivor' is anyone living with a history of cancer, from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life," according to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation. In the United States alone, there are currently more than 13 million cancer survivors.

The theme of this year's event was 'Give Cancer the Boot,' and there was food, country line dancing and door prizes.

One survivor at this year's event was Nan Hasting. Hasting said when she was told she had breast cancer nearly ten years ago, she automatically thought the worst.

"The first thing you hear when you hear cancer is death. I'm going to die, I'm not going to survive and then you start being a trooper. You start listening to doctors, you start doing research and it all comes together and you feel like I can beat this. I can do this," explained Hasting.

But Hasting did end up beating the cancer, twice. She beat breast cancer a second time just six years later. But as Hasting was fighting for her life, she noticed something missing on the North Strand. "I didn't know who to turn to, I didn't know other women that had had that surgery. The first thing I wanted to find was a support group. Someone I could talk to, someone I could relate to."

Hasting then started her own support group called 'Coping Together'. The group is in Little River and is open to anyone who's been touched by cancer. Many of them say they the closest support group was more than an hour away, like Bobbie Jo Collins, a breast cancer survivor who lives in Loris.

"That was one expense I couldn't afford was putting out more for gas to be able to go to talk to other women about cancer," Collins explained.

This new support group offers Collins and many others a closer place to find hope and hugs.

"It's extremely rewarding to see some people come up and give you a big hug and they may start to cry and say thank you, this is just what I needed, I didn't know where else to turn," Hasting said.

Coping Together meets on the first Monday of every month at 6 p.m. at the McLeod Seacoast Hospital on Highway nine in Little River.