Annual luncheon raises awareness for breast cancer
BY BRIDGETT NESBIT
As a breast caner survivor, Dorothy Woodard has been pouring her time, her talent and her heart into adovcating for early detection for more than 21 years.
Woodard wrote her first grant for breast cancer awareness and prevention 10 years ago, beginning a partnership with the Susan G. Komen Foundation that recently resulted in a $11,880 grant to pay for mammograms for women who have no health insurance or are underinsured..
Woodard volunteers at the Chestnut Grove Community Center, which works with the Statesville Branch National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, local churches, civic groups and Iredell Health System's Women’s Health Center to ensure that women are educated on breast health.
The Komen grant has provided more than 850 mammograms to women in Iredell County.
On Saturday, a gala was held to continue the effort to raise money and awareness.
The event allowed survivors like Juanita Walker, 87, a nurse and breast cancer survivor of four years, to speak freely about their experiences with their peers.
"Number one: We can discuss the matters of our hearts, honor those who lost the battle and raise money in our the silent auction to help program's like the Women's Center," Walker said.
Woodard says participation in and support of the effort is a true blessing.
"At first there were 25 each year, then 50 and 100 and for the past few years we're averaging 125," she said.
"It's awesome because I think I did so good because I caught it at an early stage so I tell others not to be afraid of mammograms because it's important to be preventive."
Stephanie Taylor, a Physician Assistant at Piedmont HealthCare, was the guest speaker on Saturday. She's seen her share of close calls during the past 13 years.
A friend whose wife had a scare always reminds her of being viligant in adovcating for breast cancer prevention, she said. After receiving an Xray mammogram her friend's wife ignored one of the body's major signs.
"After being cleared by a rountine Xray mammogram, which showed no abnormalities, she noticed a lump or bump months later and she discoounted it," Taylor said. "It turned out to be cancerous so I preach self-checks as well as scheduled mammograms."
You may be eligible for a free mammogram as part of the Statesville Branch NAACP and outreach programs at Chestnut Grove Community Center.
Women must be over 40, or ver 35 with a famiky history of breast cancer.
To make an appointment call the Iredell Health System Women's Health Center at (704)878-4551 or visit them at 735 Hartness Road.