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West Bloomfield group to host cancer research expert

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published July 30, 2018

WEST BLOOMFIELD — A local group focused on making the best of life with cancer is set to host its biennial luncheon early next month with a leading expert on cancer research.

The West Bloomfield-based Cancer Thrivers Network for Jewish Women, a program of Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit, is hosting Dr. Clifford Hudis, CEO of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, at the group’s “Celebrating Life” event. 

“It’s about our fourth one in history,” said Janet Pont, co-chair of the event. “It’s open to the community. ... (Hudis) is one of the most renowned cancer specialists in the country.”

The Cancer Thrivers Network was founded in 2007 as a way to empower women diagnosed with cancer through activities, friendships, resources, education and humor. 

“(My friend) was looking for some kind of a group that would really speak to her,” said group co-founder Sandy Schwartz. “Wherever she went, she just didn’t feel it was the right place, so she thought she’d start her own group.”

The group is open to women who have been diagnosed with any kind of cancer at any time in their lives. 

“We have a number of women who are not Jewish who find comfort in our group as well,” said Schwartz.

Schwartz said the point of the group isn’t to be a support group, but rather a place to move forward after being diagnosed. 

“We rarely talk about cancer,” she said. “This is a group that celebrates life that’s moving forward and trying to make the best of every day. We do informal programming to enhance our lives. … It’s a place you can break out of your illness and try and make a difference through being with people who are positive and enjoying life.”

The group’s biennial event is its main fundraiser. 

At the event, Hudis will speak about the latest scientific advances in cancer research, along with some challenges that medical experts still face. 

“The event always has a speaker who talks about some of the newest things going on,” said Pont. “We hope people will take away some hopefulness about new things being done in cancer therapy and just realize you have to enjoy each and every day you have.” 

The event is open to the public and will be held at noon Aug. 8 at Congregation Shaarey Zedek. Tickets cost $45. 

To learn more or to register, visit