Saturday, Sept. 15, will be a day to celebrate, honor and support our family and friends; our children and siblings; our co-workers — maybe even you.

Chances are, you know someone with cancer. Many people who receive the news that they have cancer feel as if their lives have been turned upside down. Even when they come to accept the reality of cancer, they may feel their life is changed, for cancer can affect you emotionally, physically and fi nancially.

For Mary Acker, Saturday, Sept. 15, will be personal. She’s a survivor. In June 2011, Acker was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer and began treatment at Cape Fear Valley Cancer Treatment and CyberKnife Center.

After putting off her annual mammogram for years, Acker decided to fi nally get one at the urging of her physician. Her initial mammogram showed she needed more scans. An eventual biopsy confi rmed that she did in fact have breast cancer. While the initial diagnosis scared Acker, she felt confi dent in the physicians at Cape Fear Valley Cancer Center.

“The thing that impressed me the most about Cape Fear Valley Cancer Center is how the system is so interdisciplinary,” she said. “My doctors met and reviewed my case at every stage to determine the best methods of treatment for me. I did not feel like a number or a nameless medical record. It was personal.”

She underwent two surgeries and radiation treatment at Cape Fear Valley over the course of a few months. Treatments left her anxious and depressed, but she found help in the Cancer Center’s free Complementary Medicine program.

“I was naturally anxious and sometimes depressed over my situation, but massage therapy and other programs helped me relax and re-focus on the blessings in my life,” explained Acker. “I felt my mind, body and spirit were in good hands.”

The Cancer Center’s Complementary Medicine program offers individual sessions in massage therapy, refl exology and healing touch. Art therapy, nutrition classes and “Look Good ... Feel Better®” sessions are offered for small groups. Most of the services are free, and all are relaxing, fun or informative. Some services may even help manage the symptoms experienced during traditional cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Patients who are currently undergoing cancer treatment or have undergone treatment within the past year may use the oasis’ services at either of the Cancer Center’s two locations: Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and Health Pavilion North.

Cape Fear Valley’s Complementary Medicine services are offered free or at minimal cost due to the generosity of donors and fundraising events like the Friends of the Cancer Center’s annual Ribbon Walk & Ride. Proceeds raised through the Ribbon Walk & Ride go directly to the Friends of the Cancer Center, which provides hundreds of cancer patients and their families with emotional support, information resources, food supplements, free wigs and turbans and emergency needs funding. In addition, each year, Friends of the Cancer Center sponsors Camp Rockfi sh, a camp to celebrate life for cancer patients and their families.

Lucky for Acker, her cancer responded quickly to the treatment and she is back on the path to good health. She is a survivor, and this year she is joining hundreds of others to walk downtown in the 7th Annual Ribbon Walk & Ride for Cancer.

Proceeds from the event will benefi t Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation’s Friends of the Cancer Center. The support you give will make a difference in the lives of hundreds of cancer patients and their families. For more information or to register, please visit www.ribbonwalkforcancer. org or call (910) 615-1434.

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