LUMBERTON — Cancer survivors from the Gibson Cancer Center gathered for high tea on Tuesday morning to “improve life’s aroma.”
The saying is one taken seriously by the Gibson Cancer Center workers, who hosted the first high tea for the Survivor Dine and Design program on Tuesday. The mantra suggests that being around good company makes life better.
“A good cup of tea makes everything better,” said Sheila Burke, a British volunteer at the Gibson Cancer Center.
The Dine and Design program aims to celebrate cancer survivors and their families through monthly events.
Celebrating survival wasn’t the only reason to raise a glass on Tuesday. Gibson Cancer Center is expected to reopen soon after a fire damaged the facility’s radiation wing in June.
Since repairs to the rest of the center are still underway, this month’s event was held at Trinity Holiness Church. Catherine Gaines, the team leader for navigation at the Gibson Center, said since the fire the support groups had not been able to meet. She said that it was good to see the group back together for a fun program.
Survivors made sugar scrub from olive oil and sugar and made custom hats. They were greeted with purple ribbon paper fans and — of course — a hot pot of tea made by Burke.
To begin the event, Burke taught the ladies about tea time in European countries and proper tea etiquette, including the proper way to hold a tea cup.
“Eliza Doolittle would drink her tea like this,” said Burke as she held her pinky out while sipping from the tea cup. “But that’s before she became a lady.”
The all-female guests are either current patients at the Gibson Center or cancer survivors like Pat Hasbrouck, who has been cancer-free for more than 30 years.
“It’s not a club you want to be a part of, but once you become a member, you might as well take advantage of it,” said survivor Nancy Sykes.
Sykes said she found out about her cancer when she was 63, but she went into remission. She said she had another run-in with cancer about three years ago, but still counts herself a survivor.
The women enjoyed traditional scones, cheeses and fruits and chicken salad sandwiches for lunch. They were given a copy of the scone recipe and a candle to take home, along with their handmade sugar scrub and hats.
The Survivor Dine and Design program is held on the first Tuesday of every month at the center. The center also hosts Terrific Tuesdays, which features guest speakers. The support group meets on the first Thursday of every month at the center.
For information on the Survivor Dine and Design program, the support group or any of Gibson Cancer Center’s services, contact the center at 910-671-5730.
Gabrielle can be reached at 910-816-1989.