Nearly 300 people who’ve overcome or are battling cancer gathered Sunday inside the Kinnick Stadium press box in Iowa City. The “Cancer Survivors Day” event was organized to serve as a reunion of sorts for medical staff and patients – most of whom were treated at the University of Iowa’s Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Andrea Koopmann is not only an oncology nurse at the center, she’s also a cancer survivor. She spoke with KCRG-TV. “Everybody thinks cancer is death and dying. But it’s amazing for me to be here and see all these cancer survivors and people who are doing well,” Koopmann said. A rare form of cancer struck Koopmann when she was just 22 and the treatment eventually led to the amputation of a leg. Koopmann told the group her experience gave her a much better perspective into what they’re going through. Many of those invited to the event got autographs from U-of-I athletes and signed up for raffle prizes. They also had stories of diagnosis and treatment to share, along with personal goals. Pam Hime is a cervical cancer survivor from Iowa City.
“My (goal) is to watch all 27 grandkids graduate from high school. The youngest one just turned two,” Hime told KCRG. The University of Iowa observed Cancer Survivors Day every year for many years until 2013. For a couple of years the event was dropped due to competition with other university-sponsored events. But, U-of-I officials said both medical staff and patients wanted Cancer Survivors Day to return.