Some 70 breast cancer survivors and health care workers devoted time on Friday to thinking pink during the 7th annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk.
“Being a breast cancer survivor, I came last year and I enjoyed it and I just love seeing everyone in their pink supporting breast cancer awareness,” said Beatrice Blue.
The walk entailed a stroll down Lauchwood Drive and Loop Road around the Scotland Memorial Hospital campus. Themed Celebrate Life, it was sponsored by Scotland Memorial Foundation, Genoptix, and Hospice of Scotland County.
“We are out here today to celebrate breast cancer survival and also breast cancer awareness,” said Kelvin Raybon, Scotland Health Care System oncologist. “It is one of the diseases where early detection makes a big difference, so we’re trying to spread that word, get those mammograms, and get those exams.”
Participants included cancer survivors, their family members, and health care staff from Scotland Memorial Hospital and the Scotland County Department of Health.
They donned many shades of pink and carried pink balloons and pompoms, leaving passersby little doubt of the reason for their march. Walkers finished off the occasion with pink chocolate chip cookies and red velvet cupcakes baked by radiation director Dotti Matthews.
Breast cancer can go undetected for several years, and the earlier treatment can begin, the better a patient’s chances.
“With breast cancer, research proves that early detection really has such an impact on the cure, so bringing awareness to the community about breast cancer screenings and having your mammograms is really very important,” said oncology social worker Mary Callahan-Lopez.”
The Scotland Health Care System walk began among a small breast cancer survivors’ support group, but has grown in recent years. Many now participate to encourage younger relatives to be vigilant about their own health.
“I usually wear something pink and the pins because I have children and grandchildren,” said survivor Montrose Mir. “I’m always looking for ways to tell people, especially females, but we have had a few men come who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Even now that they’re trying to stop women from having mammograms at a certain age or decrease to every other year, I’m very against that.”
And those without a family history of cancer should not assume that they will be forever free from the disease.
“I like to participate every year along with other staff members at the hospital because I have a daughter,” said Kathy Watson, a nurse at Scotland Memorial. “I don’t have any breast cancer in my family, but it’s not necessarily genetically related. Monthly breast exams are very important, as is your yearly exam with your OB/GYN.”