Gathering Offers Healing for Cancer Survivors and Families
August 5, 2022
Cancer survivor and former Gila River Health Care employee Ditas Fallis gathered with dozens of people for an “Honoring the Journey” healing mass at St. Peter Mission in District 5 on July 23. The annual event honors and commemorates cancer survivors, families and those who have passed from cancer throughout the Community.
At the mass, which was not held the past two years due to the pandemic, the mission’s congregation shared songs and prayers. Fr. Anthony from St. Peter’s Mission oversaw the service and shared his own experience with cancer in his family.
Fallis, who has been in remission since January, said the support from her former patients gave her strength in her journey. They also helped push for her to continue the event when she was ready. “I vowed that if I get healed, I will make sure we start this again,” she said.
Fallis added, “Cancer has not gone away, the pandemic will eventually go away, so it is exciting and important to start the Honoring the Journey again in a good way with a blessing from the church.”
Originally from the Philippines, Fallis started the Honoring the Journey gatherings in 2009 when she worked as the cancer case manager at Gila River Health Care. During that time, she felt there wasn’t enough awareness about cancer in the Community.
“There’s nothing to be excited about when it comes to cancer,” Fallis said, “but we have to start something in order to bring awareness about it. Our first event brought out a lot of people, and it was heartwarming to see how many people were concerned about this.”
Fallis found great support from Gila River Health Care and the Community and decided to continue the gatherings for families and loved ones affected by the illness even after she left GRHC. The last time she held the meeting before this marked the 10th anniversary in 2019.