Life After Cancer Conference Coming To Boston

A local non-profit organization brings an empowering conference to Boston.

Image provided

Image provided

Just because breast cancer awareness month is drawing to a close, doesn’t mean the cancer awareness events are slowing down.  The Friends of Mel Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises money for cancer research, is hosting the third annual The Art of Living – Life After Cancer conference in Quincy on November 2nd for cancer survivors to attend.

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, experts, caregivers, survivors, and their friends will gather to share stories, hear speakers, and empower each other through the difficult time after diagnosis. This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Mitch Golant of the Cancer Support Community who will be discussing the impact of “distress” — the feelings of depression and fear that some caregivers and survivors experience after diagnosis — on patients’ quality of life.

Pauline Alighieri, executive director of the Friends of Mel Foundation said in a press release:

The goal of the conference is to empower, recharge and — most importantly — equip people to live life beyond cancer. At The Art of Living – Life Beyond Cancer conference, survivors will learn that they are not alone, that there is a community who shares their experience.

Alighieri founded the Friends of Mel Foundation in 2005 in honor of her long-time friend and cancer victim, Mel Simmons. After Mel — who was a flight attendant for Delta airlines for 38 years — was diagnosed with breast cancer and was being treated at Massachusetts General Hospital, a flight attendant friend of hers brought her colorful beaded bracelets from Istanbul. Mel began to distribute them to her family, friends, and caregivers at MGH and Alighieri was inspired to found the Friends of Mel Foundation. Friends of Mel sells similar brightly colored beaded bracelets to raise money for cancer research and to keep Mel’s memory alive.

After only a year, Alighieri and Friends of Mel raised $1 million for cancer causes, and have raised more than $3,000,000 to date. Just last week, Friends of Mel was recognized by Grey’s Anatomy’s Patrick Dempsey at The Dempsey Challenge fundraiser in Lewiston, Maine. Friends of Mel, through sales of Mel’s bracelets, provides funding for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing.

The Friends of Mel Foundation will be selling all three versions of Mel’s bracelets — one with beads, one with beads and a smattering of Swarovski crystals, and one made entirely from Swarovski crystals — at The Art of Living — Life After Cancer Conference on Saturday. Registration is still available online.

Mel's Bracelet - photo provided

Mel’s Bracelet – photo provided