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Approximately 138 St. Jude childhood cancer survivors attended the St. Jude Annual Survivors Day Conference Saturday, October 10. Themed “Survivorship: Enhancing the Silver Lining,” this year’s event celebrated the 25th anniversary of the After Completion of Therapy (ACT) Clinic, which cares for long-term survivors of childhood cancer who have been treated at St. Jude.
When St. Jude patients maintain remission for at least two years following the completion of therapy while at least five years from diagnosis, they transfer to the ACT Clinic where they receive annual check-ups. They are also checked for any problems that may occur after cancer treatment. The goal of the ACT Clinic is to help childhood cancer survivors remain healthy. ACT patients return to St. Jude each year for check-ups until they are 18 years of age or until they have been off therapy for ten years. At that time, patients graduate and become St. Jude alumni, and each year, scores of alumni and their families return to St. Jude to celebrate life after battling childhood cancer. The event allows alumni and patients of all ages to reunite with staff and former patients through a series of activities that are designed to assist survivors as they continue to lead normal, productive lives despite a history of cancer.
The conference included educational workshops on health topics pertinent to cancer survivors. Participants were also treated to an inspiring message from special keynote speaker and cancer survivor Eric Shanteau, a member of the U.S. Olympic Swim Team who competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics despite being diagnosed with testicular cancer in June 2008.