Breast cancer survivors celebrate life
10/15/2013 - The Exponent Telegram. By Ashlie Walter.
Celebrating life was the message of the Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon hosted by the Harrison County Breast Cancer Awareness Committee on Sunday at the Bridgeport Conference Center.
Committee member Melissa Magill said this is the 10th year for the awareness program. The 12-member committee provides breast cancer diagnostic services with Health Access.
Magill said the committee also wants people to know men can be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Jenny Pfister, with Brushstroke Ministries, spoke of inspirational motivation. Through many humorous anecdotes, she said life is full of preparations but many people are missing “life.”
The “How to Help” speaker was Rose Clark, a technician with Health Access, who urged women to do monthly breast self-exams and yearly mammograms, after the age of 40.
“Champion” Kathy Helmick spoke about being the “face of survivorship” by promoting awareness, early detection for others and letting those diagnosed with cancer know they can survive.
“Any woman who has lost a loved one to cancer or survived cancer is a champion,” she said.
Helmick worked for over 20 years in the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health but then her life’s work became her life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. She said women should not be afraid to get tests or self-exams.
Almost 95 percent of breast cancer is curable and survivable with early detection. Health Access offers a free program for uninsured women to receive mammograms and other tests. If cancer is found, the committee can provide insurance and Medicaid and other resources.
This was Charlotte Ross’ second year attending the luncheon. Ross, 63, is a six-year breast cancer survivor and wanted to bring awareness to the dangers of breast cancer and the benefits of early detection.
“I like to hear the survivors’ stories. It’s nice to hear people living and surviving through this disease,” she said.
The luncheon finished with a walk in remembrance of those who attended the luncheon and those who could not; a balloon launch was held shortly after.