National Cancer Survivors Day 2023 at the Christopher Farm & Gardens – With Lots of Photographs!

National Cancer Survivors Day 2023 at the Christopher Farm & Gardens – With Lots of Photographs!

NOTE: To see all related photographs, go to the attached PDF below!

Sunday, June 4th from Noon to 5P!

It was an absolutely beautiful day: we had beautiful weather, at a beautiful venue, with beautiful people, for a beautiful reason to celebrate – National Cancer Survivors Day 2023!

I’m just going to let these photos (most of them submitted by Mary Schueller) speak for themselves (except for a few captions and comments)!

Photo: Mr. Jay Christopher, owner of the Christopher Farm & Gardens and our kind host for the day, began the event by sharing the history, many interesting facts, and his plan and vision for his property. Thank you, Mr. Christopher, for all you do for cancer patients and survivors in our community!

Christopher Farm & Gardens Guided Tour!

Photo: Erika Lusthoff of the CF&G provided a guided tour of some of the property.

Photo: There were a variety of carnival treats available and Sue and John Zalewski donated and served ice cream to the crowd!


Our host: Mr. Jay Christopher & The Christopher Farm & Gardens.

Financial Support provided by Dr. H. Marshall Matthews (Matthews Oncology Associates) and Dr. S. Mark Bettag (Sheboygan Cancer & Blood Specialists)!

Carnival Games!

Attending cancer survivor names were put into a drawing to win baskets donated by cancer survivors Cindy Becker and Barb Bogenschutz.

Everyone was invited to play a variety of carnival games to win tickets for additional drawings. Thank you to our carnies and volunteers who made the day what it was!

Photo: Cancer survivor Diane Welcher (right) and her husband Frank “Spin to Win” in a game run by carny Mary Schueller (SCCCF Board Member, retired oncology nurse, and local NCSD historian)!

Photo: Cancer survivor Jackie Seibel tries her luck with the PLINKO game as carnie and co-survivor Ruth Hartig watches with anticipation. This was one of several games designed and built by Ruth’s husband and cancer survivor “Bob the Builder” Hartig!

Photo: Cancer survivor Bernice Henning takes aim in the “Rubber Band Target Shoot” game while carnies Marybeth Herrmann (MOA/SCBS Reception & Registration) and her husband Steve cheer her on! These rubber band shooting guns were also designed and built by Bob Hartig.

Photo: Speaking of cancer survivor Bob Hartig (left), Bob designed, built, and introduced a new game exclusively for this event. In the photo above, co-survivor Tom Kloiber (right of Bob) sends the “Beacon Bumper Buggy Bouncer” for a ride!

Who Is a Cancer Survivor?

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!

Photo: Cancer survivor Carolyn Eiden (left) gets to “Pick a Duck” along with her husband Dave (center) in this game provided by cancer survivor and carny Barb Bogenschutz (right).

Photo: Cancer Survivor Lisa Glander at the “Coney Island Bean Bag Toss” game proudly wearing her red nose with carnies Steve & Kathleen Meinschock. Kathleen is an oncology nurse at MOA/SCBS.

Photo: Cancer survivor Kirstin Opgenorth goes for a hole-in-one in the “Putt-Putt” game run by carny Wayne Zimmermann, Us TOO Prostate Cancer Support Group Facilitator.

Photo: Rachel Darling (above right with son Otto and husband Nate) was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in 2018 and got involved in ST&BF in the spring of 2019. She has been a member of the ST&BF Indoor Row Group and, at the start of the 2021/22 season, announced to the rest of the team that her and Nate were expecting their first child. It is not news our group often gets to hear and celebrate! Rachel continued rowing through her pregnancy and gave birth to Otto on June 30th of last year! Shortly after the birth, Rachel rejoined the Indoor Row Group and other ST&BF activities! Thanks to Mary Schueller for taking this wonderful photo and capturing this moment (and so many others) for all of us to enjoy!

Photo: Despite what some might have thought, Mary Beth and I did NOT plan (or even discuss) our attire for the day!

If you enjoy games and having fun, consider joining us on Tuesday, June 20th for our TLC Survivorship Session and TLC Survivorship Can Be Fun Game Gathering! See attached for details!

Top FIVE Carnival Game Participants (based on “Carnival Passport” and tickets earned):

Jackie Seibel (35 tickets), Nancy Josiah (33 tickets), Rachel Darling (32 tickets), Diane Welcher (32 tickets), Bill Groening (29 tickets)!

Story Time (Survivor Program)

Photo: Erika Lusthoff, Executive Director of the Christopher Farm & Gardens (and conductor of the Dairyland Express Train) shared the mission and purpose of the Christopher Farm & Gardens as a place of healing in our community and the mutually collaborative relationship with SCCCF’s Survive, Thrive & Be Fit program!

Photo: SCCCF Board Member and long-time Oncology Nurse (now retired) provided a historical perspective of National Cancer Survivors Day. Mary has been involved locally in this annual celebration since 1992!

Photo: Then came the opportunity for me and everyone else to just sit back and listen to some inspirational stories from some amazing cancer survivors!

Photo: This was Michelle Fink’s first National Cancer Survivors Day “Celebration of life.” It was not what she expected when she left her family in Indiana and moved to the area several years ago. Her family wanted her to return to Indiana but this had become her new home. Michelle is “Cancer-Free in ‘23” and she credits the quality care she received, a supportive employer and co-workers, fellow cancer survivors and members of the ST&BF Indoor Row Group, good friends, and of course, her family who were never really far away!

Photo: Michelle’s family (pictured above L-R: Sidia Fink, Michelle, Carol Fink, and Charlie Fink) made the trip from Indiana to celebrate with her and surprised her with these commemorative t-shirts. Michelle’s t-shirt reads, “Cancer-Free in ’23!” The rest of the family wore shirts that read, “She believed she could, and she did!”

Photo: Kirstin Opgenorth, APSW, SAC-IT, was diagnosed with cancer in April of 2018. She described the many positive changes that have occurred in her life over these past five years of survivorship, including continuing her education as a mental health practitioner. But she recently sensed a change that made her uncomfortable – she felt she was falling back to old habits, losing touch with the lessons she learned throughout her personal cancer experience.

As she explained to me in an e-mail earlier this spring, “Tonight as I read the Local Cancer Community Update I felt a wave of guilt. As I reflected on this emotion, and where it came from, I realized I was slowly allowing life to grey the edges of all the pictures on the pages of the lessons I learned during my cancer journey and I had to write.”

It is a bit of a paradox! The experiences that follow a cancer diagnosis can be difficult. We may want to forget. But these difficult experiences can often be the catalyst for positive life lessons that lead to growth and greater understanding.

Kirstin will be our “Featured Survivor” at our July TLC Survivorship Session to share her story, including this aspect of survivorship and I hope you will join us! Watch for details!

Red Nose Photos

Participants were encouraged to take a selfie or group photo while wearing their red noses and uploading their photos to our website. Here are a few examples;

Photo: Submitted by Jackie Seibel

Photo: Submitted by Mike Ansay

Photo: Submitted by Debbie Mirsberger

Dairyland Express Train Ride!

Photos: Dairyland Express Conductor Erika transported several full trainloads of smiling passengers who all enjoyed this fun opportunity!

Learn more about the Dairyland Express:

There is so much to see, do, enjoy, and experience at the Christopher Farm & Gardens. On your next visit you may want to peruse the CF&G website and plan your visit accordingly:

Photos: Choo choo!!!

Like all good things in life, the day eventually had to come to an end!

Mark your calendars for National Cancer Survivors Day 2024 on Sunday, June 2, 2024! In the meantime, watch for additional SCCCF Survive, Thrive & Be Fit at the Christopher Farm & Gardens visits, outings, and activities! The best way for cancer patients and survivors to learn about all upcoming opportunities is to sign up for BOTH the Local Cancer Community Update AND the ST&BF POP-UP e-mail list (contact Tim for details). And join us on June 20th at 5P for this month’s Survivorship Session during which we will view these and more photos taken by Mary Schueller and others along with a discussion on our topic: Survivorship Can (& Should) Be Fun! See the calendar of events or attached flyer for details!

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