Virginia Meyer always knew she might walk into a fight for her life.
She said her family has a strong history of breast cancer. Her mother, grandmother, great aunt and aunt all had it. Still, when the signs pointed to her it was a shock.
"I wasn't always up emotionally," Virginia said. "I was frightened. I had despair."
But she also had family, friends, and faith. Experts say such support can make a world of difference to cancer patients.
"If you're thinking negative and you feel alone, it's gonna slow you up," said Stormont-Vail oncology nurse Carlie Gurske.
Gurske said people who keep a positive attitude seem to do better in treatment. Just being able to talk about it can help.
"A person can't go through this alone. It's difficult," she said. "You need someone to talk to - someone who knows what you're talking about, who can feel the hurt, the loss of your health, the pain."
Many people find that connection in fellow cancer patients through support groups or events like the annual cancer survivors' picnic.
Virginia said she goes to the event and takes the stories to heart, along with those of the cancer survivors in her own family.
"I looked at them and thought if they can do it, I can too," she said. "I'm thankful for my life."
This year's annual cancer survivors' day picnic is Sunday, June 6th, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at the Expocentre's Ag Hall. It's a free event for all cancer survivors and their families.