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Festival offers chance to reconnect for cancer patients
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A patient-caregiver relationship can be shrouded by its stressful terms, but Saturday offered a time of smiles and laughter for cancer patients past and present with their doctors.

Now in its 13th year, the Harvest of Hope is a day for people affected by cancer to reconnect with “the dear friends that we make and meet through the journey,” in the words of White County resident Ginger Quinn.

Quinn was diagnosed with cancer in December 2011 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, and was a patient at the Longstreet Clinic in Gainesville.

“You’re here to have a good time,” she said. “You’re here to forget about the tough part of the journey when you were dealing with all the chemo, and the fear and the pain — all of the emotions that you go through when you walk something like this. It’s just that — to come together and encourage one another.

“Laugh; enjoy; experience life.”

Held at the Lake Lanier Olympic Center on Clarks Bridge Road, festivals attendees enjoyed seeing their caretakers perform karaoke amid the beauty of lakeside trees in early stages of fall colors.

The festival is sponsored each year by the Longstreet Clinic and The Hope Glory and Life ministry, which supports events throughout the year for people affected by cancer.

Dr. Anup Lahiry, an oncologist at Longstreet Cancer Center and board member for Glory, Hope and Life, had the idea that started the Harvest of Hope.

“It’s fun, games. Forget about your cancer and be a regular human being and enjoy life,” Lahiry said. “And whether you have a disease or don’t have a disease, you have to enjoy your life.”

It began as a smaller endeavor in 2001 to give people affected by cancer an opportunity to come together outside of the doctor’s office.

“We just try to give people an excuse to have fun,” Lahiry said.

Quinn said that beyond the fun and games, vendors helped connect patients to key resources.

“They came in and offered all kinds of freebies for patients and the caregivers ... and then they talk about different resources, different things they have to offer to help the patients — they’re very encouraging,” she said.

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