United Hospital Center held its annual Celebration of Life event Sunday afternoon in Bridgeport.
The hospital and the Cecil B. Highland, Jr and Barbara B. Highland Cancer Center continues to uplift patients long after the cancer is gone.
"Every year, more and more people survive cancer," said Linda Carte, director of oncology.
Carte said this is the mission behind the hospital's focus on survivorship.
"I think that earlier detection of cancer certainly has increased survivorship as well as treatments becoming more and more effective," added Carte.
"Breast cancer should not be considered a death sentence today. It is now a disease that needs to be treated and then you need to go on living," said Dr. Debra Pratt, guest speaker at the Celebration of Life and medical director for breast health at Fairview Hospital, a partner of Cleveland Clinic.
Fighting cancer takes an army of support.
"I would hope that friends and family that come realize what an important part they play after the diagnosis of cancer," said Carte.
"We have a support group at the hospital now which is great because we didn't have that back then so things have come a long way," said Linda Blake, breast cancer survivor.
Doctors need support too and they also lean on friends and family but Dr. Pratt says her patients do as much for her as she does for them, even when it comes to celebrating anniversaries and preserving the memories from a first date with her husband.
" A couple weeks later, she shows up with a bag and a bow on it and says happy anniversary. There weren't any actual bricks but she knew a security guard and she talked this guy into getting down and into the foundation and she actually had a brick from the foundation of Applebee's to give me so I could give to my husband for our wedding anniversary and that is just so selfless and so giving so I do a lot for them but they have given back to me so much over the years," explained Pratt.
Survivorship is includes an unbreakable bond between a patient, family, and doctors, and now that bond will soon be visible through a stone wall at the hospital, decorated by survivors.