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According to the American Cancer Society, there are now more than 13.7 million cancer survivors in the United States. That number is expected to grow to nearly 18 million by 2022. After decades of focusing on treating cancer, we now face the challenge of helping survivors achieve a good quality of life once treatment has ended. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute, 64% of adults diagnosed with cancer today can expect to be alive in five years. For children, survival rates range between 70% and 92%, with the 10-year survival rate at 75%.

For many, a cancer diagnosis may lead to a change in a person's priorities regarding relationships, family planning, career, or lifestyle. Survivorship issues sometimes affect other areas of life after cancer treatment. Support services can help you deal with physical, emotional and day-to-day issues such as:

  • Difficulty on the job or in school
  • Changes in relationships with loved ones, friends or coworkers
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Concerns about body image changes
  • Problems getting health or life insurance coverage
  • Stressors related to financial issues

As a result of the steady increase in cancer survivors each year, survivorship aftercare is gaining ground in treatment plans and witnessed in the uptick of organizations being formed to address the various physical, emotional and psychological needs survivors face. One such organization, The Arts of Courage Project, ACP, was formed "to create an empowering opportunity for cancer survivors to express themselves artistically." The ACP objective is simple: pass it on. As a recent breast cancer survivor, founder Jorie Gillis has a deep desire to give back to an incredibly supportive community of cancer survivors. Combining her expertise and training in art, marketing, and now cancer, Jorie is following her passions and using them with the hopes of giving back.

On March 2nd, in Chicago, IL, the ACP is hosting an evening art event to raise awareness as well as charitable funds for cancer survivorship initiatives. The event is meant to draw anyone touched by cancer, and all who support the fight against cancer. If you are interested in helping those who are currently in the throes of dealing with a cancer diagnosis, or want to share your story/art within the survivor community, then you are encouraged to come out and celebrate! 100% of the proceeds will go to a charitable cancer foundation. ACP is actively seeking artwork created by anyone affected by cancer to showcase and auction at this event. For more information including registration, cost, venue, and how to donate your artwork, please visit The Arts of Courage Project website at www.artsofcourageproject.com.

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