Eastern Connecticut Health Network’s (ECHN) National Cancer Survivors Day and John A. DeQuattro Lecture Series event will be held on Thursday, May 17, 6-8 p.m., at The Windsor Marriott, 28 Day Hill Road, in Windsor (Exit 38 off I-91 North). The event is sponsored by the Eastern Connecticut Cancer Institute.
American author, illustrator, entrepreneur, educator, and social activist Suzy Becker is the event’s keynote speaker. Becker has received worldwide recognition for her writing. Additionally, she became the youngest individual to be honored as the 1992 New England Women Business Owner’s “Woman of the Year."
Becker’s life hasn’t been all recognition and awards; she was also handed a diagnosis that no writer ever wants to hear. Shortly after learning that she had been elected as a Radcliffe Institute Fellow, Becker ended up at a hospital undergoing tests to pinpoint the cause of a series of seizures she’d been having over several months. Her diagnosis was a growth on the left side of her brain, which would need to be surgically removed.
Though the surgery successfully eliminated the mass from her brain, the healing process unexpectedly impaired her ability to think and speak clearly for several months afterward. And as the start date for the Radcliffe Fellowship Program approached, her fears grew that her creative abilities might have permanently deserted her. She spent several weeks in the office Radcliffe had provided for her doing anything but work on the book she was supposed to be writing. It was only midway through the program that she began to suspect that her faculties had at last fully returned, at which point she found herself inspired to write not the book outlined in her project proposal, but a memoir of her experience undergoing and recovering from brain surgery. In her book, “I Had Brain Surgery, What’s Your Excuse,” she recounts her foray into major surgery and recovery with wit, humor, and hilarious illustrations.
One customer who read Becker’s book wrote, “This book surprised me in so many ways. Knowing the author's other works, I expected it to be witty and thoughtful, but I was surprised by the emotion I felt reading it, and by its amazing complexity. There is considerable humor in the book, but there is so much more. While I know this book will be of interest and inspiration to anyone who has had brain surgery or any kind of life-threatening illness or harrowing medical experience, I also believe that the story is so universal and accessible, as it charts the author's dealings with her doctors, her family, and her own physical and mental limits, that it will appeal to anyone who picks it up and starts to read it. I was sad when it was over, because I wanted it to go on and on. And then there is the incredible design of the book, composed of cartoons, charts, quotes, and various other types of illustration, all woven in smoothly with the text. It's a truly original artistic and literary work.”
“Every year, ECHN participates in the National Cancer Survivors Day to celebrate the lives of those who have struggled with cancer,” says Kristoffer Popovitch, Administrative Director Cancer Services. “It is a privilege for all of us to take time out of our busy schedules to enjoy an evening together and emphasize that we are all in this together. Over the years, so many people have commented on how special this day really is to them, and ECHN is proud to be a part of that day.”
“We also honor the late John A. DeQuattro, who was President of J.D. Real Estate Company and Affiliates of Manchester and a volunteer leader in a wide variety of civic affairs in the greater Hartford area, and after whom our cancer center is named. Mr. DeQuattro, who passed away on April 20, 1999, was especially known for his long-term association with and leadership of Manchester Memorial Hospital (MMH) and ECHN. In 2001, ECHN established a series of lectures for the community called, The DeQuattro Lecture Series. The lectures focused on a variety of topics related to cancer. In 2011, we combined the lecture series with National Cancer Survivors Day because it seemed right to recognize Mr. DeQuattro in this way. He was an extremely kind man who loved his community, and it is very fitting for us to honor him on National Cancer Survivors Day, along with all those who have been touched by this disease.”
All attendees will receive a complimentary copy of this exceptional book and enjoy an American-style buffet dinner. Valuable health information will also be available.
To register for this free event, please call 1-888-299-3676 or visit www.echn.org/Calendar.
About Eastern Connecticut Cancer Institute
The Eastern Connecticut Cancer Institute provides a unique continuum of care driven by advanced technology, supportive resources and the extraordinary dedication of a highly skilled team of compassionate professionals providing patients and their families with the highest quality diagnosis and cancer treatment close to home. Our comprehensive team approach combines state-of-the-art technology, clinical expertise and compassionate care. We bring together experts from all disciplines to develop a complete diagnosis, treatment and support plan to fight your particular cancer, and to get you back to living life.
ECHN is a not-for-profit health care system serving 19 towns in eastern Connecticut. Its network of affiliates includes Manchester Memorial Hospital, Rockville General Hospital, Woodlake at Tolland Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Eastern Connecticut Medical Professionals, Women’s Center for Wellness, Visiting Nurse & Health Services of CT, Eastern Connecticut Cancer Institute, and more. Visit our website at www.echn.org for more detailed information about the health system.