Sweets for cancer survivors

Cancer survivors celebrated life at a dinner themed Life Is Sweet Saturday night. 

And it literally was sweet, with a chocolate fountain and cotton candy adding some extra sugar to the proceedings. 

Linda Da Costa, director of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, explained to attendees the symbolism of a small table set aside to commemorate cancer patients who have not survived the battle against the disease.  

“The chair is empty, in memory of those who fought the battle with cancer who are no longer with us. Rather than mourn their loss, we choose to celebrate their lives with 
ours,” Ms Da Costa said. 

The small size of the table symbolised the “frailty of a single patient, sometimes alone in the fight against his or her disease”; the white tablecloth symbolised the medical profession; a single flower in a vase represented family and friends and the strength of a patient’s will to fight the disease; a pink ribbon signified the search for cure for breast cancer and other cancers; a slice of lemon was a reminder of the bitter battle against the disease; salt on a plate represented the tears shed by patients and their loved ones; an inverted glass symbolised those people who were not able to join the night’s celebrations; and finally, a candle represented hope. 

Attendees lined up to dip marshmallows, pineapple, strawberries and cake into the warm melted chocolate or to pick up a stick of the airy pink cotton candy. Among those at the dinner were child survivors of cancer, including Charli Foster and Jasier McLean, who were very impressed with the chocolate fountain and couldn’t wait to have a taste. 

Merrick Plummer of Sagicor, speaking on behalf of the insurance company which sponsored the dinner along with hosts the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, commended the positivity of cancer patients and shared a story of visiting an advisor at the company who was in hospital ailing from cancer, about a month after he took up his new post in the company. 

“On my way to the hospital, I was wondering what can I say to this lady knowing what she was going through. After I said ‘good afternoon’ to this young lady, I never said another word after that because it was totally her encouraging me in my new post, giving me all the advice I could get. 

“It left me wondering who was really sick? Was it me or her? That has been my experience in relating to most cancer patients. I happen to agree with Winston Churchill when he said attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. Most cancer patients I know have a very, 
very positive attitude.” 

Charli Foster

Little Charli Foster was fond of the cotton candy at the Life is Sweet cancer survivors dinner. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY

Jonassi and Jasier McLean

Cancer survivor Jasier McLean, right, and his brother Jonassi couldn’t take their eyes off the chocolate fountain. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY