‘I choose hope’: Cancer survivors honored with tree planting ceremony
OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - Cancer patients in Marion County were honored through a special tree planting ceremony.
Officials with HCA Florida West Marion Hospital held the event in honor of National Cancer Survivor Month.
Several people spoke to the crowd, including cancer survivor Kelly Ryan. The former healthcare worker battled the brain cancer glioblastoma in 2020.
“I choose hope, I choose to live everyday,” said Ryan.
Ryan shared details about her experience and recovery to other survivors and current hospital patients.
“If you feel like something’s not right in your body, it’s probably not, and get it checked out,” said Ryan.
Doctors were thrilled to see some of their former patients.
“When you see somebody that two or three or four years ago stepped into your office scared and afraid of what’s to come, without the knowledge of what could be done and then you see them today, with confidence, healthy, survivors of cancer, that highlights what we do on a daily basis,” said physician George Rossidis.
The group of survivors picked up a shovel and planted a tree outside the main entrance of the hospital.
“It provides hope as we see it grow and thrive through the years,” said CEO of HCA Florida Ocala Hospital, Alan Keesee. “I think the tree really symbolizes that hope that we can give our survivors.”
The cancer survivors were encouraged to sign and write a message on stones, which will lie at the base of the tree.
Ryan said the experience gives her more time to spend with her husband and family.
“Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but I live everyday to the fullest,” said Ryan.
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