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NCCU supports breast cancer awareness
 
Published Wednesday, October 11, 2017
by Evelyn Howell, Correspondent

DURHAM – Go ahead. Share your story.

North Carolina Central’s Student Health Center hosted its fourth annual Luncheon, "POP of Pink" last week to honor breast cancer survivors.

Stories of encouragement, love, support and prayer was told as part of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast cancer survivor Maxine Fitts was diagnosed in 2006. “My life changed when my doctor said those four words, ‘You have breast cancer.’ Those four words mean so much,” she said.

“It takes courage to have poison and radiation put in your body. Many people I know and didn’t know kept me in prayer.”

For some women, breast cancer and treatment is a private struggle, and their desire is to keep it low key. “If you know someone who are going through, send them a card, text them or send them an email,” Fitts said.

“This is what it’s all about. In fellowship and encouraging one another, it’s about making a difference in someone else’s life,” Melissa Wade, mistress of ceremony and host of The Light, 103.9 FM, said in front of the packed audience filled with students, faculty, staff and community members inside the W.G. Pearson Banquet Hall on NCCU’s campus.

“Remember to support those you love,” she said.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, about 1 in 8 U.S. women (12 percent) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2017, an estimated 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,410 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women. In a 2010-14 study, breast cancer mortality was 42 percent higher in black women than in white women.

And although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,470 men will be diagnosed with the disease and approximately 460 will die each year.

“Sometimes people need words to uplift them to put them in good spirits,” said Keionna Carr of Project S.A.F.E who, along with Najee Lee, delivered a spoken word during the event.

Twenty-one-year-old Rochelle Latten talked about her grandmother’s brave battle with cancer. “You have to keep your head up high,” she said.

How can you not be a fighter she asked? “I am a strong believer in Christ. I pray everyday.”

Ava Dolan said love, prayer and support were keys to success in her mom’s battle with cancer. Dolan said her mom is now cancer free.

The American Cancer Society, the Sisters Network Triangle and Refuge Women’s Project were also on hand to distribute information on cancer symptoms and risk factors.

“I like to use the word restoration instead of remission,” said Sisters Network Erica Jones, who was diagnosed in 2015 at age 44.

Jones said early detection and mammograms are important, as well as helping those who face chemo alone. “We have to live. We have to give. If you don’t share your testimony, you won’t uplift someone.”

Gabrielle Scott, organizer of the Refuge Women’s Project, said her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“We want to empower women to get the info out of what cancer really is. Let women know how important this is – even men,” she said. “My mother passed away, but I truly believe she won.”

Wade said we still have a lot of work to do.

“Things are turning around; things are changing with better treatments and screenings. More women can be saved – will be cured.

“Go out and encourage someone. Make sure you do what you can do. We are truly a community,” she said.

The funding is part of a $2.9 million overall grant package Komen awarded to NCCU and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for breast cancer initiatives.

 

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