“Each year that a survivor is alive to celebrate their birthday is a victory in the fight against cancer,” says Janice LaCroix, co-chair of the annual Spring Creek Towers Community Breast Cancer Walk scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 25. “We want to bring it to people’s attention that one day a cure will be possible.”
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the national sponsor of annual “Making Strides Against Cancer” walks, “This year nearly 14 million cancer survivors will celebrate another birthday, thanks in part to the progress already made.”
“Our survivors are our inspiration,” says Nancy Colt, ACS Senior Representative of Community Engagement, who has worked with the Starrett City Lions Club to help increase public awareness about efforts to find a cure for the disease; raise money to fund research; and, to provide support for those affected by cancer. For the past five years, the Spring Creek Towers (SCT) community has walked and donated $50,000 to help find a cure.
“The money raised will go towards a cure so that cancer will never steal the life of another friend or family member,” says LaCroix , who lost her daughter to the disease, and believes ACS’ survivor theme is an important declaration of hope. And, it is an affirmation of the strength and resilience she has witnessed exhibited by survivors.
Lions Club member Florence Hall will participate again in the community’s walk to help promote awareness and urge adults to seek cancer screenings. Her participation this year will have an added and personal emphasis. After 42 years of having annual mammograms, Hall was diagnosed with the early signs of breast cancer in August; a diagnosis previously given to seven of her 10 sisters. “I refuse to let it get me down. As the saying goes, so this too shall pass,” said the 72-year-old SCT resident, who lost her son to stomach cancer, and will begin eight weeks of chemotherapy in an attempt to stymie the disease.
Lifesaving treatments are not easy or agreeable remedies for all, however. Ten years ago while giving herself a breast exam, SCT resident Stella Dobson, 68, discovered a quarter-sized lump on her right side and went to her doctor. A biopsy found it to be cancerous and a mastectomy was performed. Recently, Dobson noticed a lump behind her left ear, it proved to be cancerous. She received six weeks of radiation as a course of treatment, which, unfortunately, burned her skin and left marks. An avid baker, known for her culinary talents, she said the most distressing effect of her recent treatment is losing her ability to taste. Despite the unpleasant and lingering experiences associated with that treatment, a grateful Dobson will make batches of cookies to sell at the community walk in two weeks to help raise money for a cure.
Through greater public awareness and financial support, progress has been made in biomedical research and oncology care. Recent medical advancements such as the medication Herceptin, which is designed to fight HER2+ breast cancer cells (an aggressive form of the disease that quickly spreads), has been effective. Tamoxifen, another drug, is being used to prevent breast cancer and treat women who have abnormal cells in the ducts of their breasts. ACS’ Colt says these are lifesaving treatments, but stressed that one of the most important actions has been establishing mammography as the standard for early detection of breast cancer.
Medical advances, early screenings, technological developments and health education have all helped to triple the percentage of people in the United States living with, through and beyond cancer. The disease was once a mystery; however, through continuous research scientists have found biological connections to the disease that are hopeful avenues to prevention and or a cure.
LaCroix believes the annual walk is a meaningful demonstration of the community’s concern and caring about a worthy cause. The Lions Club hopes to raises $25,000.
The 5th Annual Spring Creek Towers Community Walk on Saturday, October 25 will begin with registration at 9 a.m.; the walk at 11 a.m. – starting place “G” Field at Pennsylvania and Schroeders Avenue. After the walk, there will be music provided by a DJ, raffles, snacks and performances by the Starrett City Girl Scouts and the Brooklyn Diamonds. For more information, contact Janice LaCroix at 917/856.3598 or Allen Abelson at 718/642.8824.
BY AMANDA MOSES, AGNES E. GREEN
PHOTO: Winston Wharton