A week before Thanksgiving, cancer patients, survivors, family members and friends are invited to count their blessings at the Rapides Cancer Center’s annual “Blessings of Life” ecumenical memorial service.

The service is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. in the Bolton Chapel at Emmanuel Baptist Church in downtown Alexandria.

“During the Thanksgiving season, we’re reminded to take pause and recognize our many blessings in life,” said Karen Hathorn, RN MSN, Director of Oncology Services at Rapides Regional Medical Center. “This memorial service is a way for our cancer patients, their friends and families to celebrate the faith, hope and healing they experience on a daily basis.”

The service will be a celebration of faith, hope and healing, as well as a time to honor the memories of loved ones overcome by cancer.

Music, poetry and a time of silent reflection will comprise the service.

“It isn’t a traditional worship service. It includes various faith traditions because cancer doesn’t differentiate between denominations,” said Lee Weems, D.Min., Emmanuel Baptist Church associate pastor.

The service also offers participants an environment where it’s OK to grieve.

“This is really a time and a place where we can honor the memory of lost and loved ones,” Hathorn said. “Some use it as a way of letting go.”

“Grief often combines both tears and laughter,” Weems said. “We fashion the service around the idea that each person who comes into our life leaves a blessing. In the struggle of life, a lot of times the biggest blessing is people.”

This event is open to anyone who’s lost a loved one to cancer, is currently undergoing treatment or is a cancer survivor. The family, friends and caregivers of those touched by cancer are also invited to attend.

Refreshments will be served following the program. Pre-registration is encouraged. Please call 769-4440, or register online at rapidesregional.com.

Emmanuel Baptist Church is located at 430 Jackson Street, Alexandria.

tags: cancer care