NATIONAL CANCER SURVIVORS MONTH: Survivors create a healing community group

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — June is National Cancer Survivors Month and a group of Lansing breast cancer survivors is creating a healing community for everyone.

Alexis Schenider, Jessica Sanfilippo, and Cynthia Dunn are breast cancer survivors.

“It’s unexpected, no one plans for cancer it just kind of comes at a time when you don’t have time,” said Alexis Schenider, a cancer survivor and founder of LiveWell, the healing community. 

A resilient milestone such as is this is more than just a celebration for them.

” [It] really just means community and holding space for those other people who are maybe just entering that unknown territory and that scary world, and to look at everyone who has overcome it,” Sanfilippo said.

One of the hardest parts of their journey is dealing with the aftermath of cancer.

“It’s like you go through and have a broken bone, and you have a cast and you get the cast-off and you’re like YES my bone is great. It’s not like that with cancer because it affects the entire body, and it affects the mind, the soul, and everything,” said Schenider.

For Dunn, accepting that the fight was over left her puzzled.

“I just remember honestly I was confused because I was like I’m still sick, it was so confusing to be honest with you,” said Dunn.

For Sanfilippo, after a year and a half of fighting then being declared cancer free, she was rediagnosed 6 months later.        

“I thought, I had done everything that they wanted me to do. Why is it still back? So I took a completely holistic approach in conjunction with treatment the second time. So when they say you’re cancer-free because I had already had a recurrence it felt like they were lying,” said Sanfilippo.

Dunn is a 8 year cancer survivor who struggled with several cancer-related issues after being declared cancer free. She says that’s the part nobody talks about.        

“I was on life support, I was on a vent, I was in the ICU for weeks, I was in the hospital for weeks. They don’t talk about that.”

They each found comfort, and healing through sisterhood, yoga and art. They want all those who;’ve experienced cancer to have that same feeling through their community group Live Well.    

From healing art work with Sanfilippo, to yoga and breathing exercises with Dunn and therapy with Scheneider and others, LiveWell has a variety of services to help people heal.

“I don’t have to think about my chronic illness, I don’t have to think about my pain. I can literally be surrounded by people who understand my past, who understand the trauma experience I have gone through and not have to talk about it but heal within it,” said Schneider.        

You can find more information about the Live Well: The Healing Community in the Scene on 6 section of our website.    

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