Eat Dessert First: A Celebration of Life Takes Place June 2

Eat Dessert First: A Celebration of Life, the FitzPatrick Cancer Center’s (FCC) annual commemoration of cancer survivorship celebrates its 30th anniversary on Sunday, June 2 from 1 to 3 pm with a return to the University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) front lawn.

Cancer survivorship begins on the day of diagnosis, according to the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and June 2 is National Cancer Survivors Day, the international celebration for cancer survivors held annually on the first Sunday of June.

“For 30 years, we have come together as a community to show our love and support for those who have been diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones. Eat Dessert First has always been a very special event and we’re excited to host it under the big white tent once again,” said Alice Hyde Medical Center and CVPH President Michelle LeBeau.

The June 2 event will feature ice cream sundaes, music from The Elements, caricatures More Add 2 by Joe Ferris and a presentation from Constance Bramer, breast cancer survivor and Albany-based author of, “How Connie Got Her Rack Back.” In her book, Bramer offers a bold “in your face” look at cancer with a comical twist. In addition to being a published author, Bramer runs her own foundation, Get Your Rack Back (GYRB) and has raised over $300,000 to aid cancer patients and support cancer research. GYRB has also stuffed and delivered over 4,000 Christmas stockings to children affected by cancer in the last nine years. According to Bramer, her mission is for GYRB to assist one patient, one family at a time.

Community, Family and Choosing Joy Just four years after opening its doors in 1990, the FitzPatrick Cancer Center, a CVPH program, began its annual participation in National Cancer Survivorship Day. The inaugural event, held in the Cancer Center’s parking lot on June 5, 1994, was organized by a committee that included representatives from the hospital, hospital auxiliary, medical staff, the community and cancer survivors.

Stacey LaFave, MS, was part of that committee. “The name of our event, Eat Dessert First: A Celebration of life, embodies the ideas of community, family, and choosing joy despite the curve balls life can throw our way. In most cultures, food is at the center of holidays, weddings, and so many other celebrations with friends and family. When we choose to eat dessert first, we are choosing to make the most of what today, this moment, has to offer, letting the worries and fears of the future take a back seat to what has the most meaning in our lives, and spending time with those who support and love us.” Today she joins Alexander Fleming, LMSW, FCC oncology social worker in planning the 30th anniversary.

“Eat Dessert First has had several changes over the years but we have always maintained a commitment to honor and support the lives and experiences of cancer survivors, their families and caregivers,” added FitzPatrick Cancer Center Social Worker Alex Fleming, LMSW. Joining forces with the American Cancer Society in 2012, Eat Dessert First was incorporated into Relay for Life where ice cream was served in the Survivor tent.

Convenient parking for Eat Dessert First is located in the Medical Office Building lots near the CVPH Cornelia Street entrance.

For more information, please feel free to reach out to Fleming at 518-562-7534 or