'Superheroes' gather for Cancer Survivors Day to spread hope

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than 150 "Superheroes of Hope" gathered Sunday for Cancer Survivors Day at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Dozens of cancer survivor Superheroes and their families celebrated life and spread hope.

Among the dozens of "superheroes" were John Hall Jr., who was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2012 and declared cancer-free five years ago.

"Had (I) been diagnosed 10 years prior to, the surgery would have been altogether different," said Hall, who donned a cape for the event.

Hall's doctor, Ann Mauer, said advancements in technology have made all the difference over the years.

"Whether it be new therapies that are available better ways to actually deliver these treatments or advancements in survivorship care as well which I think is really important because now more than ever there are more patients living with and through cancer," said Mauer, medical director of the Cancer Institute at Illinois Masonic Hospital.

This year's Cancer Survivor Day was even more special for Hall - because his wife Lynda joined him as a new cancer survivor herself.

"Tomorrow I will be five months cancer free, my last treatment was in January," Lynda Hall said. "This day today has really special meaning because now we're both cancer free. Were finished."

Survivors celebrated with Zumba classes, art projects and other activities this afternoon.

For the Halls, they said it's about celebrating life.

"Not only does it feel great, I feel like I can help other people understand cancer is passé, you can beat it, you can beat it and you shouldn't be afraid of it," John Hall Jr. said.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.