Celebrating Cancer Survivor Day: 'It shares hope'

EUGENE, Ore. -- In celebration of National Cancer Survivors Day dozens of people spent Sunday sharing their stories and spreading hope at the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center.

For Oncology social worker Lynda Godel, Cancer Survivors Day - now in its 26th year - is all about making connections and giving hope.

"Cancer cannot take away their life, cannot take away the things that are inside that make life worth living," Godel said of the cancer survivors, caregivers and loved ones that filled the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute.

"It shares hope and takes away some of the fear that a cancer diagnosis is going to be the end for some patients."

Godell said there are over 14 million cancer survivors in America. Musician Paul Biondi was one of the speakers who recently was diagnosed with cancer.

"I'm a newbie to having cancer, about a month and a half now designated with the b-cell leukemia," Biondi said.

He told KVAL News that seeing so many survivors in the room gave him hope, as well as the piece of mind that cancer care has improved tremendously.

"This is a great time for survivors because you know future treatments, future examinations you are going to get the best medicine has to offer," Biondi said, calling his diagnosis a wake up call about his health.

Biondi said he's hopeful about beating the disease and has a message for anyone who is listening.

"I'm just asking the public, everybody out there, people I've been playing for for years, people I love in our town - you need to go and get checked early," said Biondi.