National Cancer Survivors Day in East Tennessee

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Knoxville (WVLT) -- National Cancer Survivors Day brought about a celebration of life to East Tennesseans.

"It's been a struggle, but my family has really helped me and the Lord has been right there with me," said Kathy Debord, a cancer survivor of 3 months.

As she explains, her story others are there to listen and remind her that survival is possible.

"To me, the chemo (therapy) was worse than surgery, it gets to you physically and it just drags you down," she said.

Debord just recently finished her last chemotherapy treatment and is on fast track to recovery.

"It's just wonderful to be alive and all the advancements that have been made and everything that's available," said Debord.

"It's really a struggle. It's a battle, but you can do it," said Decord as she leaves advice for those who may be doubting themselves, "just hang in there, it will get better."

Decord celebrated today with her mother who has kept her cancer away for 10 years now.

"There's so many people here that have been cancer free for so many years that it really gives somebody like me hope that I, too, can be there," said Mary Stoner, who was diagnosed with cancer last April.

Stoner shares her feelings about having cancer, "It's scary in the beginning," she said, "you just never think it's going to happen to you."

Stoner was able to make that fear go away.

"Once you finally reach that point and finish your treatment, it's like, yeah, yeah, I can do this," she said.

"I know I've come a long way and I feel so good," said Stoner with pride.

The director of UT's Cancer Institute says ten million people in the U.S. have once been diagnosed with cancer and are alive today.

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