Breast Cancer Survivor Day San Diego Naval Medical Center
On a sunny Saturday morning, five hundred women and men gathered at the San Diego Naval Medical Center for a remarkable annual event. Co-sponsored by the Armed Services YMCA, this "Breast Cancer Survivors Day" brought together breast cancer survivors, their supporters and medical teams.
They are every woman - as young as twenty-seven, as old as ninety-two. They share an incredible common bond; a fight for their lives. A journey to discover how to maintain balance and health in their new lives.It's a strong indication of the progress of complementary medicine when the United States Armed Forces includes techniques such as massage, acupuncture, guided imagery, and music therapy in their treatment of breast cancer patients. And the inclusion of a community drum circle on this Breast Cancer Survivors Day makes a statement that is as strong as the beat played on the large gathering drum. Group drumming IS an important health promoting strategy and a vital approach to celebrating life as a community. (see "Should Drums Be Sold in Pharmacies?" ).
At the drum circle, people enter and immediately fall into the groove. Everyone is letting off steam, making their own unique rhythm, and celebrating until we all stop on cue.
A chant is introduced, "Unity, all around me." It's simple but profound. The group joins as they close their eyes and ride along this sense of connection and appreciation for the club they now belong to and its many members.Then the grand finale - the elder survivor of the group, a ninety-two year old woman, steps forward to initiate the final rhythm on a gathering drum. The group can't wait to play along, and before we know it, we are jamming. Some get up and dance. The children are playing each other's drums. And even the uniformed Naval Medical Officers have let go of any resistance to being part of this incredible community event.