May 11, 2001

Survivors Day encourages bell ringing

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Todd Mann, left, and Elizabeth Franklin were among the family members who enjoyed the food provided by Friends of Children's Hospital Tuesday night. The dinner was part of Friends Hospital Hospitality Night, an ongoing volunteer effort to help families of children in Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. (photo by Dana Johnson)

There’s a party planned for the hundreds of cancer survivors in Middle Tennessee, and it’s BYOB – “Bring Your Own Bell.”

Middle Tennessee will join more than 700 communities across the United States in celebrating the 14th annual National Cancer Survivors Day on Sunday, June 3.

Everyone in the region who has faced or is facing a cancer diagnosis – or who wishes to honor cancer survivors – is invited to join the free celebration at the Bicentennial Mall at the base of Capitol Hill in Nashville.

This year’s event will feature live music, carnival games, the traditional reading of names and bell-ringing to honor survivors, and presentation of the second annual Jerry Thompson Spirit of Survivorship Award.

Singer-songwriter Gary Chapman will host the celebration, which will be kicked off at 1:30 p.m. by music from Soul Incision. The Spirit of Survivorship Award will be presented in memory of the late Tennessean columnist Jerry Thompson at 2:15 p.m.

The reading of survivors’ names and ringing of the bells (which will occur at 2:25 p.m. and 3:15 p.m., respectively) has become a tradition of the Middle Tennessee event. Participants are encouraged to bring bells (noisy key rings work well, too).

Congregations in the community, especially in the downtown area, are also encouraged to ring their church bells at 3:15 p.m., in honor of the 8.9 million Americans who are surviving cancer.

National Cancer Survivors Day is the world’s largest and fastest-growing annual cancer survivor event. It recognizes those who are living with and beyond cancer, as well as their families, caregivers, their doctors and nurses and others in the cancer field.

The event, which will be held rain or shine, is sponsored by a coalition of advocacy groups, cancer centers, hospitals, support organizations and other cancer-related groups, including the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

To learn more, or to register in advance, call 936-5855 or visit