Posted by Mercedes Arteaga on October 06, 2010
On Sunday, September 12th was held the first ever Celebration of Life meeting in a national scale, in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This event was organized by the group leaders of the Asociación de Lucha contra la Leucemia (Fight against Leukemia Association), Martha and Dr. Amaru, who had been taking care of the preparations for many months before the meeting, to make sure that all survivors and caregivers in Bolivia would be notified of the meeting.
With 150 people, the event was so big, and there were so many things to talk about, that it is hard to think it only took one morning! Therefore, I would just like to point out two of the activities that took place in the meeting and that illustrate the meaning of the Celebration of Life.
The first is patient testimonies. It was very interesting to hear the experiences of Tatiana, Germán and Julio, who shared their stories and anecdotes of the ups and downs they had to go through from the day they were diagnosed to this day. I am sure most of the people present could relate to what they said as they told experiences that emphasized how important it is to always continue doing treatment in spite of all hardships, both personal and from the outside world. It is very difficult to learn how important following treatment is by suffering the consequences of its interruption – yet it is more difficult to get back on your feet, restart treatment and advice other people against following that example. It is not easy, either, to successfully follow your treatment when you find so many obstacles on the way that make it near impossible to get access to it. These cancer survivors overcame it all and were with us that day to share this with us so that other people living with cancer could get strength from it.
The second would have to be the three typical Bolivian dances we were treated to by patients and caregivers. All of them, lots of fun to watch, as the costumes were so colorful and the rhythm so catchy! Below you can see how a 14-year-old leukemia survivor and her siblings perform a beautiful number.
To conclude, I would like to point out that we were able to collect over 70 tribute cards/ World Cancer Declaration signatures that move us closer to our goal.
Thank you, Bolivia!