On Saturday, Sept. 23, more than 800 survivors, patients, family members and friends affected by cancer walked in the 18th Annual Team Spirit Long Beach to raise funds for support programs offered at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Medical Center. Dressed in bright colors and custom team t-shirts, participants walked the 3.1 mile scenic walk along the Long Beach shoreline.
“At our MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, we believe that cancer is not just a physical journey, but a journey of the mind and spirit,” says Ikenna Mmeje, Chief Operating Officer, Long Beach Memorial. “It’s for this reason, psychosocial support is at the core of our approach to care. Our support programs are vital to helping our patients navigate their journey with cancer and our community’s efforts through Team Spirit Long Beach will help us continue to offer those programs and continue to strengthen them as our patient population grows.”
Many of the support programs offered at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute are unique to the greater Long Beach community, such as Women Guiding Women: Cancer Support & Education™ program, which is one of only two peer-mentor programs of its kind in the nation for women with breast and gynecologic cancers.
Each year, because of Team Spirit, the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute is able to create new programs that meet the needs of its patients. In the last year, new programs included a creative arts workshop, writing workshop and a support group for caregivers.
Additional programs include support groups, nurse navigators, social workers, a mind-body oncology coach, yoga and more.
Team Spirit Long Beach not only serves as a fundraising event, but as a time to honor and celebrate those who have been affected by cancer. One of those personally touched by cancer was Tammy Godfrey, a Long Beach Memorial employee, cancer survivor and 2017 Team Spirit Long Beach participant, who shared her experience with the crowd.
“Last year, I was here in a wheelchair six months into my ovarian cancer fight. I was not supposed to be here this year and I would not be without a lot of help. Thank you to everyone who is donating their time and money to a cause that saves lives.
“What I want everyone to know is that hope does fuel the fight. I decided last year that I will not only be here, but I will walk. Next year, maybe I’ll be running. I want everyone to know there is so much hope if you believe it.”