Eight associates and three volunteers of Oklahoma Cancer Specialists and Research Institute, St. John Health System's new partner in cancer care in the Ascension Tulsa Ministry Market, were the first to tie ribbons to new artwork called the "Ribbon of Hope" at the facility's main campus. Jerry Clipp, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Chief Administrative Director at Oklahoma Cancer Specialists, unveiled the artwork during a ceremony Nov. 18.

"The event today was all about spreading hope," Jerry said. "Our patients are unique in that they support one another. This new tradition will allow those who have walked the journey to provide hope for those at the beginning of their journey."

The tradition at Oklahoma Cancer Specialists has been for patients to ring a special bell in the lobby when they finish their last treatment in celebration of the milestone. Cheers and applause can usually be heard throughout the facility whenever the bell is rung. The Ribbon of Hope is located to the right of the bell; now, prior to ringing the bell, survivors may also write a message of hope on a ribbon to patients still undergoing treatment, then tie it to the artwork. The color of a survivor's ribbon matches the national awareness ribbon of their particular cancer.

"Beating cancer was a second chance I never knew I needed," said John Oborn, Director of Information Technology at Oklahoma Cancer Specialists, after tying his ribbon during the ceremony. "To still be here nine years later is a blessing. Every day I wake up is a blessing."

Photo: Tammy Sortet, OCN, a nurse navigator at Oklahoma Cancer Specialists, ties a pink ribbon to the facility's new Ribbon of Hope artwork in honor of her battle against breast cancer this year.