A movement to spread awareness about breast cancer will get underway this weekend.
The George E. Thorne Development Center is hosting the sixth annual “Praise Is the Cure Week of Hope, Health and Healing” — an event that recognizes the plight of African-American breast cancer patients, survivors and their families.
Anita T. Conner, a 13-year breast cancer survivor, expanded GETDC in 2005 to incorporate Praise is the Cure as a primary initiative.
“God spared me, so I believe he spared me to help somebody else,” said Conner, who is a prominent accountant.
“Our vision is to create a community with less victims and more breast cancer survivors — and our mission is do that by motivating, educating and encouraging African Americans to get their screenings and treatments.”
Conner’s focus on breast cancer awareness comes at a time when more African-American women are dying from the disease than any other ethnic group.
The free event kicks off on September 25 with Praise Sunday, where more than 50 houses of worship will celebrate breast cancer patients and survivors and raise awareness about breast health through pulpit presentations and the dissemination of life-saving information to their constituents. More than 20,000 pieces of breast health literature will be distributed during Praise Sunday.
A children’s festival is scheduled for September 28 at the North Philadelphia YMCA and September 29 at the Abington YMCA. A highlight of the festival includes readings of the book “My Mommy Has Breast Cancer, But She Is Ok!” by survivor Kerri M. Conner. The event is expected to reach about 300 children and their parents.
“Breast cancer affects the whole family, especially our children. As adults we often don’t know how to talk to our children about difficult situations. This gives us an opportunity to bring a very difficult situation to a children’s level and also to help educate the parents on how to talk to their children about things that are going on,” says Conner.
October 1 marks a jam-packed day for the Praise is the Cure Week. The day features a health fair with free mammograms and other screenings, wellness workshops, educational activities and a pampering party for breast cancer patients and survivors. Women and children from the shelter system are being bussed in to participate in the activities.
The breast cancer survivors pampering party serves as the highlight of the day, where survivors will be treated to full body massages, facials and manicures.
A key activity also includes the “Real Men Wear Pink…Taking Care of Others and Yourself” forum. The men’s only forum offer participants an opportunity to talk about health issues. Health columnist Glenn Ellis will serve as a key presenter during the men’s forum.
Praise is the Cure Week concludes with a breast cancer survivor procession and a benefit gospel concert featuring Hezekiah Walker and LFC and The Brockington Ensemble. The October 1 activities will be held at the Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ, 6401 Ogontz Ave.
Since its inception, Praise is the Cure has reached over 50,000 Philadelphia area residents and has raised more than $200,000 to support year round program efforts.
Honorary community members of Praise Is The Cure include National Association of Black Journalists Founder Sandra Long and Vice President of Community Affairs, Independence Blue Cross, Lorina Marshall-Blake. Honorary co-chairs state Sen. Vincent Hughes and actress Sheryl Lee Ralph are also advocates for Praise Is The Cure.
To register for the event, call (215) 635-1025.