"Cancer is really hard to go through. And it's really hard to watch someone you love go through. And I know, because I have been on both sides of the equation. It's hard to say which is harder."
That's what actress Cynthia Nixon told hundreds about her own relatable journey with the disease at the Power of Pink luncheon Thursday on Sandy Hook to benefit the Leon Hess Cancer Center at Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch.
The Emmy, Tony and Grammy award-winning actress of Sex in the City fame told the audience the story of her 82-year-old mother's battle with cancer as well as her own. She offered her own perspective on survival empowerment, saying that seeking one another out for support and being one's own health-care advocate are crucial to winning the fight against the disease.
"We should never underestimate the power of that, either for healing or as an information gathering tool," she said, adding that she just went off her Tamoxifen in the spring and her mother has survived a years-long cancer fight, armed with the weapons of instinct and support.
Taking advantage of the tools of medical advance and making them available to everyone are just as critical to survival, Nixon said. And Monmouth Medical's Gamma Knife Program co-directors Dr. Ty Olson, neurosurgeon, and Dr. Sang Sim, radiation oncologist, informed the guests of their initiatives and hopes, with the help of fundraising efforts, to serve a more expanded population in the cancer fight close to home.
Nixon told of how having familiar support and care nearby can reduce anxiety and help pave a smoother path to recovery for cancer patients. A friend immersed in her own battle, she said, shared a story about how having faith in familiar, hometown health-care sources "gave (me) a whole new perspective how important it is to ensure that you have state of the art, multidisciplinary cancer care close to home. Finding people you can trust and rely on is half the battle when you're facing cancer — when you're facing any health-care issue."
Keeping that in mind, Nixon reminded the audience that "the war against cancer, unfortunately, is still raging. But you can go home this afternoon knowing that you've done your part in arming Monmouth Medical for battle. And that's news that really ruins cancer's day."
Take a look at the gallery above for a glimpse into the Power of Pink day.