Michael Riley is a well-known Bay Area performer and comedian, but there was nothing funny about his diagnosis with advanced lung cancer in 2012. He read that there was an 85 percent chance of dying from the cancer in the first year. Riley decided to channel his fear and anger in a positive way and to try to be among the 15 percent who survive. Riley will be sharing his survival story at this year’s Kaiser Permanente “Seeds of Hope,” to be held June 10, 2018 at the Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center.
“My Kaiser Permanente doctors were doing everything they could to help,” said Riley. “So, I decided that the only thing that I could do was bring a positive attitude to the table.”
“Michael’s cancer was very serious,” said Anita T.C. Lee, MD, Radiology/Oncology at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara. “But he always had a positive attitude. Myself and the staff always looked forward to seeing him while he was on treatment.”
Riley’s humor and positivity helped the other patients in the Santa Clara Radiation Center. He resolved to come in for his many radiation sessions with humorous stories, and even the patients facing equally-dangerous cancers found their spirits lifted.
“Facing cancer is like training for a marathon,” said Dr. Lee, who was Riley’s physician. “It’s hard work, but if you have a positive attitude, you’ll go far.”
Riley will perform a one-man show at this year’s “Seeds of Hope” event. The show reflects his journey from sickness to recovery and now survivorship. He is cancer-free.
“Seeds of Hope” got its start as part of the national Cancer Survivors Day. Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara and San Jose have been presenting “Seeds of Hope” for nine years. This year’s event will be held at Kaiser Permanente San Jose, 275 Hospital Parkway in San Jose.
The gathering “Art of Healing: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind,” will focus on the emotional well-being and neurocognitive challenges of cancer survivorship. Cancer survivors may be free of the disease, but they often have problems with fatigue, sleep and memory, among other concerns.
This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Dianne Shumay, a clinical health psychologist from the University of California-San Francisco, will talk about her work with cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones. Her goal is to assist those affected by teaching them about stress management and coping skills. Behavioral and mind-body approaches are often employed.
“Seeds of Hope” includes education booths, food, Zumba and other exercises, Laughter Yoga, a Kids Zone, and more. Anzonette Pittet, RD, will also be sharing about the impact of food on mood and cancer.
“Seeds of Hope” will also continue the tradition of providing information that can help patients, caregivers, friends and family through all phases of cancer treatment and survivorship.
To register for this year’s “Seeds of Hope” and learn more about the event program details. visit our website at www.tinyurl.com/soh2018.