Jamie Holland/News Conor Cunneen address cancer survivors and their families at the Annual Cancer Survivor Event.

MOUNT VERNON — Thursday night, two-time cancer survivor Conor Cunneen spoke at the 13th annual Cancer Survivor Recognition Event hosted by the Knox Community Hospital Center for Cancer Care at the Eastern Ohio Star Gallagher Centre.

The event’s theme was “Treasure Survivorship.” It started with opening remarks by Bruce D. White, the CEO of KCH. He said that the event was to celebrate them, the cancer survivors and their supporters. Mayor Richard Mavis gave the proclamation saying that June 13, 2019, was the observation day and the day to celebrate life.

Kathy Braidich and Sally Oldham were recognized at the event for their nonprofit The Turban Project. The Turban Project distributes turbans to oncology and radiation centers across the country. In the past seven years, they have distributed over 34,000 turbans free of cost.

Roger Porterfield opened for Cunneen with his own story of survival. Porterfield, a local to Mount Vernon, was diagnosed with lung cancer in August of 2016. Within the following months, he rapidly met with surgeons and had tests done before surgery in October of that same year. With the help of the Center for Cancer Care, he was cancer free by the beginning of 2017. He said that he is grateful to all the nurses, staff, family, and friends who have supported and cared him along the way.

Cunneen, the featured speaker at the event, is, as he puts it, an Irishman happily exiled in Chicago where he says that the Guinness is good, the natives are friendly, and he has been forced fed more corned beef and green beer than he ever had in Ireland. Cunneen has survived both thyroid and prostate cancer.

“Having had a thyroidectomy and a prostatectomy, I now have an Irish condition known as ‘there is not much left of me,’” he said as he opened his speech, filled with tales of Ireland and stories from Cunneen’s life, tilted “The Gift of GAB: Goals, Attitude, Behavior.”

The Gift of GAB, he said, is a way to make life better for both you and those around you.

To start this, he started with some micro goals that can help improve the environment around you, with a clever acronym of CHAPS.

CHAPS stands for compliments, hear, address, attitude, positive and smile. Things that will create for a better environment no matter where you go.

“Compliment makes everyone feel better,” He said, “One person a day (that you compliment) will cause a chain reaction.”

Cunneen goes on to explain the other four micro-goals that make up CHAPS. Hear, he said, when someone says thank you. But in order for someone to say thank you, you have to do something in order to deserve that thanks.

“Address people with their names at least once in a conversation,” He said, “Use positive words more, start making people feel those words.”

His next point was attitude. He said that we all have a choice over our attitude in every set of circumstances. Behavior, he said, is our brand. What people say about you becomes your brand.

“Remember CHAPS and you will make a difference and when you see the mobile disco rig remember: What do you want your attitude to be?” Cunneen said at the end of his speech.

The final micro goal is smile. Cunneen said that if you make someone else smile then you will smile as well.

The event concluded with door prizes given to the cancer survivors and their families before White gave the closing remarks, thanking everyone who was involved in the event and the survivors and their support systems.