It’s easy to see just how many people are affected by breast cancer at an event like the Breast Cancer Symposium.
On Thursday, hundreds of people — many of them women who are breast cancer survivors or who have recently been diagnosed with the disease and their families — gathered for the 10th annual event, held at The Center for Rural Development.
“It’s a time we can reflect on our past, present and future, and get acquainted with new friends,” said Shirley George, a 20-year survivor of breast cancer.
Susan Ramsey Wilson, director of marketing and community relations at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital — which hosts the symposium in partnership with Alton Blakley family of dealerships — said more than 400 people attended the luncheon on Thursday, which requires advanced registration.
“It’s the largest luncheon we’ve ever had,” Wilson said. “We filled up the whole South Hall (of The Center).”
There were so many breast cancer survivors at Thursday’s luncheon that organizers even ran out of participation items, meant to be handed out to the survivors.
“It’s a blessing to be able to be a part of it,” Wilson said. “To see people from year to year and to be able to celebrate another year with them.”
Survivors — ranging from a 27- and a 28-year-old to women who have survived more than 40 years after fighting the disease — were honored during the luncheon, and those who died fighting the disease were honored in an emotional ceremony as well.
Apples with names of those who passed away written on them were hung from a tree by their loved ones. The apples were in line with this year’s symposium theme, “Pinknic,” which featured picnic-like food and decorations.
This year’s guest speaker was Cindy Moore, known best for her impersonation of the Minnie Pearl character — a performance fine-tuned by the actual late Minnie Pearl, who Moore worked with during her entertainment career.