The word “champion” was not only a noun but also a verb at the 17th annual Emanuel Cancer Center’s Women’s Cancer Awareness Night Out on Tuesday where women and men gathered collectively to celebrate their personal victories over the disease and champion the importance of proactive health efforts.
The theme of the evening was Champions for Life: Strength of Body, Mind, and Spirit and leading the charge was Olympic gold medalist and ovarian cancer survivor Shannon Miller. As the keynote speaker Miller stressed the importance of overall health, noting that many Americans place more emphasis on the state of their car than the state of their health.
“It took me many years and a pretty big health scare to make my health a priority and realize that I was not being selfish by doing so,” explained Miller, noting that many women sacrifice their personal health to care for others. “It’s not selfish; in fact it is selfless because we cannot care for others if we are not caring for ourselves.”
Alongside Miller was the new CEO of Emanuel Medical Center, Sue Micheletti , who shared her own personal story of battling against breast cancer.
“That phone call when the doctor says you have breast cancer is a very difficult thing to endure,” she recounted.
While Micheletti is celebrating 16 months of being cancer-free she has recently faced new challenges, including her recent move to Turlock to become the CEO of Emanuel Medical Center after it was acquired by Tenet Healthcare. The Women’s Night Out event provided Micheletti an opportunity to not only connect with the Turlock community but to also unite with hundreds of other women to express solidarity in the face of cancer.
While Micheletti’s story was touching, it was not unique in that her own personal anecdote was preceded by a processional of more than 100 cancer survivors, each receiving a medal of honor from members of the Turlock Fire Department. The fire department also bestowed fourth grade teacher Jill Norman with the second annual Pink Helmet Award, an award given to a local individual who demonstrates the characteristics of a firefighter: compassion, bravery, honesty, commitment, and courage. Not only is Norman a breast cancer survivor but she has also participated in numerous Team in Training cancer fundraising events over the years including a triathlon.
The Turlock Firefighters 2434 union will continue its support of breast cancer awareness and research with its pink T-shirt campaign.
The community can help support the efforts by purchasing and wearing the T-shirts as well. The shirts will be sold in October at Bella Forte and Crivelli’s Shirts and More, both in downtown Turlock, and the gift shop at Emanuel Medical Center.
Last year the fire fighters campaign brought in $14,000 for cancer research.