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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 7:13 pm | Fair 60º


Cancer Survivors Come Together at Annual Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara Celebration

Viva la Vida party at Oak Park also gives Cancer Center a chance to show off its new building nearby


Hundreds of tricounty-area cancer patients and survivors, and their families, friends and community members gathered Saturday at Santa Barbara’s Oak Park to celebrate life.

The Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara’s 27th annual Viva la Vida — A Celebration of Life offered those facing cancer a day to forget about the disease.

The family-friendly event provided approximately 800 people with music, games, activities, bingo, food and outdoor fun. The event coincided with National Cancer Survivorship Day, an annual commemoration held in communities nationwide.

Thanks to the generous support and sponsorships from businesses, foundations and individuals, the event was free for all who attended.

Cancer survivor Gale Hugo, a Goleta resident, is continuing with treatment.

Sitting alongside family members, she said she was grateful for the Cancer Center and appreciative of the clinic’s treatment services.

Hugo had breast cancer in 2011 and it metastasized to her liver in 2015. In the fall of 2016, she had a few spots appear in her brain.

“I realized early on what great hands I was in with the Cancer Center,” she told Noozhawk. “I was able to surrender to the process and go with the flow. I didn’t have to fight and worry about the treatment programs.”

Hugo is stable and her treatment is ongoing. She reminds herself that tough times are temporary.

“I like to do things positively and diligently,” she said. “If you're going though a bad cycle of chemotherapy or having a bad day — it’s temporary, and it’s going to get better.”

Hugo’s daughter, Noella, offered words of support for her courageous mother.

“I feel positive,” the 11-year-old said. “Everything will end up good because my mom is dealing with cancer so well. We met a lot of friends through this and it has silver linings.”

Saturday’s event aimed to provided encouragement and hope, offering living proof that cancer can be survivable.

“The event is a great opportunity for people to celebrate their survivorship,” said Stephanie Carlyle, the manager of philanthropy at the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara. “People can meet long-term survivors and see that survivorship is possible.”

This year’s event was the first time the foundation held the celebration adjacent to the new outpatient cancer treatment facility.

Attendees had the opportunity to tour the Cancer Center’s 54,000-square-foot building on West Pueblo Street and park in the facility’s adjacent 180-space parking garage. The building is expected to open in the fall.

“It’s nice that we are next to our brand-new Cancer Center of Santa Barbara,” Carlyle said.

Click here for more information about the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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