The annual Cancer Survivor’s Day Picnic hosted by Via Christi is always a special event, but it was a really big celebration Sunday for Chet and Susan Sweet, Girard. “This is our 40th wedding anniversary,” said Sweet, a male survivor of breast cancer since 2009. “What’s going on now really is kind of like our wedding day, because we got married at noon and had a little bit of lunch afterward.” They were a young couple in love. “Just to show you how young we were, we went to Worlds of Fun for our honeymoon,” said Mrs. Sweet. Breast cancer primarily strikes women, but Sweet speaks out often to warn other men that they are also at risk. He’s even been known to dye his hair and beard bright pink. He and his wife were among hundreds attending the event this year in Lincoln Park. “We had almost 300 people signed up today,” said Lisa Lovell, Via Christi Cancer Center program director. She noted that one patient had friends attending from Florida and California. “We’ve had people from the East Coast and the West Coast meeting here in the middle,” Lovell said. Usually the picnic is held at the Lincoln Park shelter house nearest the street, but this time it was at a shelter further into the park so special transportation was arranged for those who needed it. “We got the buggies out, and the men volunteers called Red Coats are driving for us,” Lovell said. “It’s working out very well.” Via Christi Cancer Center started its work 20 years ago when the University of Kansas Medical Center opened a small outreach clinic inside the hospital. Today it is one of the only certified, comprehensive cancer centers in southeast Kansas and a founding member of the Midwest Cancer Alliance with the University of Kansas Cancer Center. Via Christi Cancer Center is also the only cancer center in the four states to earn all eight out of eight commendations from the American College of Surgeons Committee on Cancer. Other qualities aren’t determined by statistics, but in the heart. “This event just kind of reaffirms us and patients and staff have come together like a family,” Lovell said. “Just getting together outside a clinical setting is like a family reunion.” Lolita Mumbower, now cancer-free for seven years, said that she makes it a point not to miss the Cancer Survivors Day Picnic. “I come every year,” she said. “I think it’s great.”