Early detection is key
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity to promote screening and early detection of breast cancer.
Roughly one in eight women in the United States will get breast cancer. Next to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer in women. According to the American Cancer Society, 3,320 Louisiana residents will be diagnosed with the disease this year.
In Jeff Davis Parish, organizers for the Melissa Doise Hope for the Miracle 5K Run/Walk are doing their best to raise funds and spread awareness about the disease that affects not only the patient, but their families and friends too. The walk is set to hit the streets of Jennings for the third year on Saturday, Oct. 27. The Melissa Doise Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps breast cancer sufferers in tribute to the foundation’s namesake, Hathaway’s Melissa Doise, who succumbed to the disease. Their mission is to raise public awareness about breast cancer and also to assist patients that have been diagnosed with the disease.
Organizer Kim Precht, who is also breast cancer survivor, said that she could have bought a house for all the treatments, doctor visits, surgeries, and everything else that went in to her recovery.
“Nobody knows better than somebody who has been through this experience. For women, it’s a very degrading disease,” Precht said. “It takes a lot away from us that makes us women. One of the hardest things for me was not having hair. I had eight surgeries in two years. To say that my body was transformed is probably an understatement. When these women are going through this, you have so many decisions that have to made immediately and its really tough.”
Precht said the walk gives those recently diagnosed with breast cancer an opportunity to share their experiences with other survivors.
The walk helps also helps breast cancer patients in the parish financially. Recipients have been able to receive vouchers for groceries and gasoline, from local businesses. The vouchers help free up funds for medical bills acquired along the way. Also, because the vouchers come from businesses in the parish, all the money stays local. The foundation is able to give back to the community as it donates.
The Melissa Doise Foundation also can provide special magnets or shower hangars that remind women to perform a self-exam monthly. Area high school nurses are also receiving such items for their health classes, getting the word to young girls.
Their mottos is: “early detection is key,” because when cancer is found at stage one, the battle can be a lot easier than when diagnosed at stage four.
Also, breast cancer is not just limited to women. Men can get breast cancer too and there is usually less awareness around it.
So far, the foundation has helped approximately 36 ladies, given out around $20,000 in food vouchers, gas and prosthetics, as well as care packages that contain a lot of information for women that are newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
Cancer survivors and sufferers are being asked to attend, even if they cannot participate in the race. For more information on the Melissa Doise Foundation or the Hope for the Miracle 5K, call (337) 824-5708. To print the registration form, visit http://www.doisemiraclerun.com/.
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