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Cancer Survivors Celebrate Life at Kaiser Event in Bellflower

MEMBERS of the Annual Cancer Free Fashion Show, along with Kaiser Staff and care givers, at the 2019 Together We Care event.




Helen Keller once said, “Although life is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming it.” The annual cancer survivor celebration, hosted by Kaiser Permanente at their Bellflower Medical Offices, reflected Helen Keller’s statement. The fiesta themed celebration was held this past June 28 for cancer survivors, caregivers, and family members as they gathered together to celebrate survivorship, showing that life after cancer can be healthy, fulfilling and meaningful.  

The event was open to past and present Kaiser Permanente patients, community residents, physicians, employees and volunteers.  

Timea Gaines is not only the Communications Specialist for Kaiser Permanente she is also a cancer survivor. “In 2015 I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. It is not hereditary and I was the first in my family to have to deal with cancer. As you can imagine it was a frightening journey, but I am so grateful for the support I had.” 

Before moving to Southern California, Kaiser was her cancer care team in the Mid-Atlantic Region, when she moved to California, she went to work for Kaiser.

“I couldn’t be happier to be here and continue to support the organization, I am cancer free and thriving.”

Dozens of exhibitors were present with one booth dedicated to knitting and crochet classes. Dhaneya Kumaraswamy runs the Image of Hope Center at South Bay Medical. 

Kumaraswamy says knitting is therapeutic and relaxing, “patients are provided with instructions, tips, and tricks for dealing with the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment.” 

Image of Hope Center also collects and gives away “paper cranes.” The story behind the cranes is a touching one. 

After being diagnosed with leukemia from radiation, a young girl named Sadako was told to fold origami paper cranes in the hope of making a thousand of them. She was inspired to do so by the Japanese legend that one who created a thousand origami cranes would be granted a wish. Her wish was simply to live through her disease. In retelling her story, it is said she only managed to fold only 644 cranes before she died. Her friends and family helped finish her dream by folding the rest of the cranes, which were buried with Sadako.