Survivor Celebration Q& A with Sandra Surgeon

Posted 5 years ago

Survivor Celebration Q & A with Sandra Surgeon

As the annual Ironwood Cancer and Research Centers Survivor Celebration Breakfast approaches, we wanted to catch up with its host, ICRC Marketing Director, Sandra Surgeon to learn more about the history of the breakfast and why it such an anticipated event for local communities, patients, and their families.

Survivor Celebration Q & A with Sandra Surgeon:

Q: Sandra, you have been leading Ironwood Cancer & Research Center’s Marketing Department for over 12 years. Can you share with us how the survivor celebration started?

SS: Yes! The survivor celebration is a labor of love for the employees of Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers. Our founding member, Dr. Parvinderjit Khanuja and senior consultant Elizabeth Mueller shared the idea nine years ago and we ran with it. We wanted to give back to the community and to enjoy a morning together with survivors, their families, and caregivers.

I remember our first event like it was yesterday. Our theme was HOPE. It was a cookout with hamburgers and hot dogs at the Chandler location. Our second event was in Mesa, and this was where we held our first pancake breakfast. We decided to start the event earlier and centralize it to our Gilbert location. That was a game-changer, and the turn out was amazing.

Mayor of Chandler Kevin Hartke with Elizabeth Mueller of Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers

Mayor of Chandler Kevin Hartke with Elizabeth Mueller, Senior Consultant of Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers

Q: How has the event grown over the past nine years?:

SS: When we began, we only had 18 vendors and 100 attendees. Now the event averages 50+ vendors and 250 to 500 attendees! We host the breakfast three times a year at our comprehensive cancer centers, and it is open to the entire community. It is a true celebration for anyone that has been affected by cancer.

The support we receive from the cities we serve is incredible. You will often see the Mayor, City Councilmen, and First Responders come out to join us and spend time with our guests.

Q: What can we look forward to at this year’s event?

SS: The breakfast is a great place to come and make new friends. Cancer survivors and caregivers come from all over the valley to join us. In addition to the free breakfast, guests can learn about our Integrative Services and enjoy wellness demonstrations. We have lovely vendors like My Hope Bag, Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Reba’s Vision, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Guests will have the opportunity to receive a head and neck screening from our medical providers. They can to talk about their experience with cancer at the Share Your Story booth and participate in Tai Chi and chair yoga. 

Marketing Director Sandra Surgeon and Dr. Khanuja at the Survivor Celebration Breakfast Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers

Marketing Director Sandra Surgeon and Dr. Khanuja at the Survivor Celebration Breakfast

Q: How are you able to get this accomplished every year?

Dr. Aaron Ambrad and Police at the Survivor Celebration Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers

Dr. Aaron Ambrad performing a head & neck screening for a policeman at the Survivor Celebration

SS: Dr. Khanuja and the staff at Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers are fully committed to making these events happen each year. We have a dedicated team of volunteers who want to ensure our guests can enjoy time with their families and the community. I want to thank Cigna Medical Group for being a gracious sponsor for the event.

Q: Can you share some final thoughts about why you are so passionate about this event?

SS: After the last car has left, I always take a moment to reflect on the day. My heart fills with emotion and a sense of admiration for the commitment and support from our physicians, staff, vendors, and our dedicated volunteers.

The community response to the celebration breakfast will leave you speechless. We come together to share stories, give endless hugs and hope to the recently diagnosed, our many survivors, their caregivers, and anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer.


Picnic Specialties Pancake Breakfast at Survivors Celebration Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers

Picnic Specialties Pancake Breakfast at Survivors Celebration Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers

Event Details:
Join Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM at the Scottsdale office (8880 E. Desert Cove Ave. Scottsdale, AZ 85260) on Saturday, October 12, 2019 for the Annual Survivor’s Day Breakfast!

About Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers

Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers (ICRC) is the largest multi-specialty oncology network in the Greater Metro Phoenix area. They have over 100 medical providers, a robust Integrative Services program and a dedicated clinical research department. Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers has 15 valley locations and five comprehensive cancer care centers that offer a multi-disciplinary approach for expedited personalized patient care. For more information please visit our website at