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First Breast Cancer Awareness walk on Greenbrier River Trail

Participating in the Breast Cancer Awareness walk: from left: Hannah Hollandsworth, Nancy Jordan, Courtney Gainer, Khloe Gainer and Andrea O’Brien. Photos courtesy of Susan Wilkins

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital and Pocahontas County Parks and Rec held a Breast Cancer Awareness Walk October 27 on the Greenbrier River Trail in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The mile-long walk featured educational signs every 100 yards with facts about breast cancer.  Walkers who participated received pink “Hope” masks and awareness socks. 

Brooke Burns, Program Coordinator at Parks and Rec, and Susan Wilkins, Public Relations Coordinator at PMH, organized the walk for the community with funds donated by the Pocahontas County High School Girls Basketball Team. 

 “Each year, the girls basketball team donates money from their “Pink Out” game to PMH to use for breast cancer programs,” Wilkins said.  “In the past, we have created cancer care bags for patients, and held programs and wreath hangings.  With COVID this year and so many of our joint programs being cancelled, Brooke and I were trying to think outside the box to come up with a way to spread knowledge and awareness to recognize this important month.” 

Nearly 40 people walked the trail, including two young boys who walked in honor of their grandmother and took socks home to her.  A freewill donation was also collected with $168 being sent this week to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides for Breast Cancer program for research and support.

Overall rates of breast cancer occurrences in the United States are decreasing, but it is still the second leading cause of death among women, according to the American Cancer Society.  One in every eight women has the chance of developing breast cancer sometime in her life.  More than three-fourths of breast cancers diagnosed each year occur in women who are 50 or older; this is why it is extremely important to get a mammogram every year after the age of 40.  For women ages 20 to 39, mammograms are recommended every three years.  

Regular mammograms are even more important for women who smoke.  

The National Cancer Institute recently reported that there is a direct correlation between smoking cigarettes and increased risks for developing breast cancer. In addition to causing lung cancer, tobacco use also increases one’s chances of developing cancers of the mouth, lips, nose and sinuses, voice box, throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon/rectum and ovary, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.  It also raises the risk of many other health problems, including heart and lung diseases.

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital public relations coordinator Susan Wilkins, left, and Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation program coordinator Brooke Burns hold a sign for Breast Cancer awareness at the walk on the Greenbrier River Trail.

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