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The Power of Hope Patient and Caregiver Conference

Volunteer Voice - Fall 2007


Vince Papale knows how important hope is. It served him well when he tried out for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1976 and became the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL. It took on stronger meaning when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2002.

Now a five-year survivor, Papale shared his story with participants at Anderson Network’s 19th annual Living Fully With and Beyond Cancer Patient and Caregiver Conference, Sept. 6-8, at the Houston Marriott Westchase.

Vince Papale motivated the conference audience with the message to believe in yourself. He illustrated his comments with clips from the Disney movie, “Invincible,” which is about his life.

With the theme, “The Power of Hope,” the event included a sampling of complementary and integrative modalities; 18 breakout sessions on issues pertinent to cancer patients and caregivers; and two new panels — one for those in active treatment, the other for those dealing with aspects of survivorship.

Janice Duplessis served as the chairman of the 2007 Anderson Network conference. She chose a theme of “The Power of Hope” for the event.

“Hope doesn’t come with a promise, but it can be a possibility, offering a new beginning at each stage of life,” she explains. “The best way to instill hope is to enjoy every breath, every step and celebrate each victory no matter how large or small.”

The traditional medical panel, offering updates on the latest in cancer research, was led by M. D. Anderson President John Mendelsohn, M.D. This year’s topics included nanotechnology and metastasis.

The closing keynote speaker was Julie Silver, M.D., a young breast cancer survivor, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and author of several books on healing.

Besides being filled with a wealth of health information, the conference had plenty of fun events: a Thursday night mixer and a Friday evening banquet with comedienne Jeanne Robertson, a former Miss North Carolina.

Held every fall, the conference is open to all cancer patients, regardless of where treatment was received, as well as their family and friends.

The Anderson Network, a patient-to-patient support organization, is a program of the Department of Volunteer Services at M. D. Anderson.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center