Breast Cancer Awareness Walk held on the GRT
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month Pocahontas Memorial Hospital and Pocahontas County Parks and Rec held their second Breast Cancer Awareness Walk last week on the Greenbrier River Trail. The two-mile walk featured educational signs with breast cancer facts and prevention tips. Walkers who participated received free T-shirts.
Brooke Burns, Program Coordinator at Parks and Rec, and Susan Wilkins, Public Relations Coordinator at PMH, organized the walk to spread education and awareness in a COVID-19 conscious (and cautious) way.
“With so many of our joint programs being cancelled last year, Brooke and I were trying to think outside the box to recognize this important month,” Wilkins said.
Last year’s event was such a success the pair decided to make the walk bigger and better this year. New signage was obtained and added to the line up to keep the walk fresh for repeat participants; and free T-shirts were promised to the first fifty participants.
Forty-seven people came out to walk, including two young boys who walked for their mothers who could not attend. A free will donation was collected with the proceeds being given to Pocahontas County High School for its donation to Bonnie’s Bus. Making this year’s walk even more special, community member Melodie Wallace made gift bags for breast cancer survivors who participated.
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. Over three-fourths of the breast cancers diagnosed each year occur in women who are 50 or older; that’s 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.