National Cancer Survivors Day
Shows the Power of Hope

Jesse Mercullief shares a laugh with a fellow Power of Hope attendee.

June 3 is National Cancer Survivors Day. On this day, we celebrate the survivors in our community and bring awareness to their individual struggles. The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation defines a survivor as anyone living with a history of cancer—from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life. This definition also recognizes the active survivors in our community.

Active, productive, and full of moxie is exactly how to describe nine-year breast cancer survivor Jesse Merculief. At the time of her diagnosis, Jesse already had the struggles of a young working mom trying to support her family. Breast cancer brought only more struggles. Her daughter’s father left when he found out about the cancer, so Jesse raised their toddler alone while spending the next three years undergoing cancer treatment. Jesse lost a lot through treatment: her long beautiful hair, the chance to have more children, and both breasts.

In the darkest of times, Jesse started speaking with a behavioral therapist. Therapy helped Jesse process her emotions, so that she could carry on and finish her fight. When things started to get better, Jesse had a newfound perspective on appreciating life’s joys. Her hair grew back, with a new wavy texture, and she was accepted into SCF’s Administrative Support Training Program.

Now an SCF patient accounts specialist, Jesse uses her wellness hour to attend SCF’s Health Education’s Power of Hope cancer and education social group luncheons. She enjoys the nutritious and creative lunches, the health educator’s expertise, but above all Jesse enjoys the opportunity to meet with fellow survivors from different walks of life. The next Power of Hope luncheon will be held in Mt. Marathon on June 25 from noon to 1 p.m.

To read more of Jesse’s story, visit southcentralfoundation.com. For more information about Power of Hope, contact Health Education at: (907) 729-2689.

by Denile Ault

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