Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital recently celebrated National Cancer Survivors Day with a luncheon and balloon release in the hospital’s Swadesh Khurana Healing Garden. Letting Hope Soar was the program theme which was echoed by guest speaker, Crystal Christmas, who offered encouraging words for cancer survivors and caregivers.

Christmas lost her husband William to esophageal cancer in December 2014. She recalled how William inspired her to live life differently.

“Cancer taught us how to slow down and live,” said Christmas. “It gave us something that nothing can take away. It gave us life and a much needed perspective shift. It gave us new views on family, on hardship, on legacy, on love and on our purpose here on this Earth.”

The event’s compassionate tone was reverberated in the prayer and reflections from Chaplain Mary Joy Cabrera, interim director of spiritual care & values integration, Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital. Dr. Anna Belcheva, who is the medical director of Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital Infusion Center offered encouraging words and introduced Crystal Christmas, the keynote speaker. A musical concert was provided by pianist and songwriter Dehner Franks Sr. and vocalist Jan Franks.


“Each year it is our honor to participate in National Cancer Survivors Day. Not only through celebrations like this, but through the journey itself,” said Angie Tippit, director, Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Willowbrook. “We are here for our patients and their family members to provide treatments, support groups, healing sessions, and nurse navigators to help patients through the journey towards survivorship.”


During the luncheon, Christmas expressed gratitude for the constant support she and William received from the entire care team throughout his journey with cancer.


“To those in the medical field who tirelessly care for their patients and are tirelessly working for a cure, you are my heroes,” said Christmas. “To those who are caring or cared for someone with cancer, you too qualify as heroes.”


Following Christmas’ words of encouragement, guests gathered in front of the hospital to release dozens of multi-colored balloons into the sky, which symbolized hope and support for cancer survivors and their loved ones.


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About the Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Willowbrook

 The Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Willowbrook is staffed with specialists who collaborate to offer our patients the least invasive, most technologically advanced treatment options available.


Combining the latest treatments with a patient-centered approach gives patients and their families the best possible cancer care in Houston's Northwest community.

About Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital

Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital is a 312 bed, not-for-profit, faith-based hospital, which is part of Houston Methodist. The hospital has expanded in Northwest Houston to serve the comprehensive health care needs of the growing community. 


Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has been named a Magnet recognized health care facility by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®


Houston Methodist Willowbrook is ranked No. 4 in the Houston metro area and No. 8 in Texas by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” in 2015.  


Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital is a regional referral center specializing in cardiology and cardiovascular services, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and sports medicine, and comprehensive cancer services. Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has a Breast Care Center, Cancer Center, Imaging Center, Infusion Center Sleep Center, Surgical Weight Loss Center and operates the largest Birthing Care Center in the Greater Northwest Houston area. 


For more information on the comprehensive services available on the Houston Methodist Willowbrook campus and to learn about upcoming events, please visit houstonmethodist.org/willowbrook.  To find a physician, call 281.737.2500.