Cancer Patients and Survivors Network at HOIN Luncheon

Valencia Mohammed | 2/10/2009, 10:51 a.m.

At an event co-sponsored by several local hospitals including Washington Hospital Center, Provident Hospital, United Medical Center and George Washington University Hospital, close to 100 cancer survivors came together to celebrate their victories of overcoming debilitating diseases.
The Health Outreach Information Network (HOIN) Annual Meet and Greet Luncheon was held on Mon., Feb. 2 at the Pier 7 Restaurant in Southwest D.C.
D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) also contributed to the worthy cause.Former D.C. Councilmember Nadine Winter, 84, executive director of the HOIN and a three-time survivor of breast and brain cancer, said over the years the luncheons have been motivating and learning experiences.

€The visibility of people who have survived different forms of cancer and several devastating diseases is a motivator for those who have neglected going to the doctor to check out themselves,€ Winter said.
Each table was buzzing with stories of acceptance and the struggle to survive from breast cancer, prostate cancer, kidney disease, lung cancer, strokes and other diseases.

€We are begging Black people to realize that most of these cancers and diseases are treatable when discovered in early stages,€ Winter said. €We are living proof that you can beat it.€

Dr. Walter Faggett, former medical director for D.C. Medicaid, was a member of President Barack Obama€s transition team that focused on healthcare. He shared with the audience the volume of responses the transition team received on healthcare issues.
€We received over 600,000 responses to the surveys. One of President Obama€s immediate focus areas in healthcare is that for seniors,€ Faggett said. €Overwhelmingly, there is a cry for radical changes in healthcare and how to make it available and affordable.€

Faggett, former deputy director for the D.C. Department of Health, said HOIN and Winter have shown a success model for gathering and sharing information about cancer, disease and healthcare that should be replicated around the country. Barry, a 17-year prostate cancer survivor, shared his future plans for a kidney transplant later this year.

€I was lucky to get a match so quickly. I truly believe that more and more Black people need to give the gift of donating a kidney or other organs that we can share without affecting our own health,€ Barry said. €Why take it with you to the grave? Give it up so others can live.€

Gwendolyn Adams spoke about her experiences of weighing 400 pounds just several years ago. Suffering with obesity all of her life, she decided to have gastric bypass surgery. Now sporting a size 12 figure, Adams proudly told the audience how she has maintained her loss of 246 pounds for the last three years.

€I walk with the picture of myself when I weighed 400 pounds just to prove to others who suffer from morbid obesity that they can lose weight too,€ Adams said. €Sometimes people won€t listen to you unless you€ve been there. This luncheon encourages us to go out and share information with others who walk in our shoes.€ Since October, 2008, the HOIN volunteers collected over 500 surveys to support HOIN€s theory that there is a disparity in healthcare delivery systems. €We must reach the poorest citizenry in D.C.,€ Winter said.