RALEIGH -- Every cancer survivor has a story, and Sunday was a day to celebrate those stories of survival.
Richard Altans has been in recovery for less than two years after he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma.
"The chemo was the hardest. With the three concoction cocktail. I sat through in the hospital and they pump it through you," said Altans.
Cancer survivors say they celebrate every day, but Sunday truly belonged to them because it was National Cancer Survivors Day. A day that also gave them a chance to join together with people who have fought the same battle.
"I have a girlfriend who's a 10-year survivor, same kind of cancer I have," said breast cancer survivor Debra Fearing.
Sunday was the 23rd year for the event. Health officials say advances in technology have led to major improvements over the years in treating cancer.
"Some have just found out their diagnosed and just started treating. I met with one lady who's a survivor for 23 years. So when you have those people meeting together it does give hope for the number of years of survival," said Rex Cancer Center Director Vickie Byler.
They all may have different stories, but their message to others is the same.
"I've learned not to ever give up hope," said Fearing.
"Don't get down on it. The doctors will get you through it," said Altans.