Oregon Cancer Foundation held its first health fair for National Cancer Survivors Day to connect those touched by cancer to support services and other resources in our community. The event was so well received that OCF plans to host another health fair in December.
“We have wanted to do a health fair for several years,” says Amy Johnston, OCF executive director. “We had to start somewhere, and this health fair went better than we ever expected.”
National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual celebration of life, held in hundreds of communities around the world, on the first Sunday in June. This day of recognition is meant to celebrate those who have survived cancer, inspire those recently diagnosed, gather families together and encourage community outreach.
The day you are diagnosed, you are a survivor for the rest of your life,” Amy says. “National Cancer Survivors Day is for everyone—those who are newly diagnosed, actively in treatment or have been a survivor for some time.”
An amazing turnout
Even though it was graduation weekend, it did not stop people from attending between commencement parties. With over 100 attendees and 14 local health vendors, the health fair was considered a major success, Amy says.
“It was striking, the response we received—not just in terms of numbers, but also how long people stayed,” says Andrew King, OCF program coordinator. “You could tell that people were engaged and got something out of it.”
The event ran as an open house to also serve as an opportunity for the community to see the new OCF office space.
“Quite a few people in the cancer world came,” says Katie Burke, outreach and events coordinator and planner of the OCF event. “It was great to be able to get the information out—the event was super successful.”
Connecting health care resources
Vendors in attendance included Pacific Integrative Oncology, American Cancer Society, Wildtree, and Remember the Moon Boutique, which houses Cynthia’s on Main—a mastectomy lingerie store in Springfield.
“These are vetted vendors that we recommend to people in the community,” Amy says. “It was a great opportunity to educate patients and survivors in the Lane County area and connect them to these resources.”
In addition, the event convened local health care providers, support services, vendors, and health care professionals who don’t necessarily have opportunities to come together, which is one of the many reasons the event was so beneficial.
“They are all here in Lane County to serve our community,” Katie says. “So, why not be a host for these organizations, too?”
Long-term, OCF is hoping to host a large-scale, all-day health fair, with breakaway sessions, events and classes, serving as a conference for cancer survivors and related organizations. And, stay tuned for more information about the next health fair coming in December.