DIAMOND — A local cancer survivor recently received her five-year award at an event in Zion, Ill.

DIAMOND — A local cancer survivor recently received her five-year award at an event in Zion, Ill.
On Friday, June 8, Tammy Kimbrough, Diamond, a breast cancer survivor, joined more than 100 fellow five-year cancer survivors at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in suburban Chicago for its 30th Annual Celebrate Life event.
While some cancer rates continue to climb, medical treatments are also advancing, providing more patients with the hope and resources they need to battle this disease. Survivorship is the new frontier in cancer care, and hospitals, like CTCA, offer dedicated survivorship programs to help patients achieve a high quality of life post-cancer treatment.
 Celebrate Life is an annual event that brings together both cancer survivors and caregivers for a day of empowerment and celebration. Survivors stand united to support one another, celebrate the moments they’ve gained, and encourage those who are currently navigating their own cancer journey.
“In the last five years since my diagnosis, I have become stronger and happier overall,” said Kimbrough. “I try not to be so easily bothered. Life is short and you have to enjoy."
Kimbrough had  HR triple negative cancer, which means she didn't have enough estrogen.
"It is one of the rare cancers and it is very fast growing," she said. "I did a home checkup like they suggest while I was in the shower and I found a knot (on the breast) and then I went to my doctor in Southwest City and they set me up an appointment with Joplin at the breast cancer center. They told me even if i had a mammogram a month before, I would have never found it."
She went through six chemo treatments and had a double mastectomy (took both of the breasts) and then had radiation for an additional six weeks.
Now, she is in remission.
"I feel wonderful," Kimbrough said.
The recent event
The day began with the celebrants and caregivers arriving at the hospital campus in Zion on eight large coach buses. As they disembarked, many with loved ones by their side, they took a momentous walk down a red carpet, lined with hundreds of cheering family, friends, caregivers and hospital care team members who attended to help these individuals celebrate their five years of cancer survivorship.
After the red-carpet walk, Kimbrough took part in a commemorative tree planting ceremony, symbolizing the wonder of life and growth. The 2018 Celebrate Life event marks the 30th year that a tree has been planted in honor of each five-year survivor in attendance, helping replenish and strengthen our nation’s landscape with a thriving forest of life-giving trees symbolic of cancer survivorship. Participants honored represented 32 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, each offering support and strength to others, as they posed for a photo in front of their commemorative tree.
Many of the celebrants also took time to walk through the hospital, offering comfort, support and a traditional “Hope” pin to other patients and family members who are currently battling cancer. Before the day concluded, each celebrant was personally honored and revered, on stage, in front of and along with their fellow five-year survivors.
“Celebrate Life is one of the most important and revered days of the year for Cancer Treatment Centers of America," said Scott Jones, President and CEO, CTCA in Chicago in a press release. "It is a moment in time where we amplify our commitment to our patients and continue our long-established and joyful tradition of honoring our five-year cancer survivors for their fight, determination and courage. This group of men and women came to CTCA looking for powerful and innovative treatment options and found a level of care that embraced their individual and specific needs.”
Kimbrough said she was pleased to attend the recent event.
"It was awesome, on a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 10, that is what you look forward to is the five year, because they do like a five year, 10 year," she said. "You felt like you met a milestone, because i had plenty of friends that did not make it. I am very grateful."