By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. On Wednesday, Oct. 5, a special cancer awareness afternoon took place in the rose garden behind Mountains Community Hospital to bring to light that one in eight women will face breast cancer in her life and that men can also get breast cancer.
This awareness afternoon was filled with testimonials of cancer survivors, fun awareness games, refreshments, and a walk to celebrate life and fight against breast cancer.
A walk around the rose garden, led by the Mountain Fifes & Drums Corps, was the beginning of the afternoon. The Fifes & Drums gave the procession a respectable dignity in their Colonial uniforms and then they played a few songs, which delighted the seated audience.
Approximately 20 residents of the long-term residence center at MCH attended, each one with their attendant, who followed the Fifes & Drums, some rolling along in wheelchairs and others walking in the parade around the garden. The Inland Empire Comfort Pets were well dressed and pranced along with their owners in the procession, members of the Soroptimists of the Rim of the World and community members all attended to show their support in this fight against this medical scourge against womankind. The Soroptimists had just completed a fundraiser and awareness walk the previous Sunday morning at SkyPark, hopefully, the first of many future annual walks. The Soroptimists have supported breast cancer research and mammograms at MCH for years.
Set up around the center of the rose garden was a display of the fancy decorated bras brought by the Soroptimists in their awareness campaign for women getting mammograms. Those bright and fancy bras set the theme for the games and the rest of the afternoon. It was a positive event with games of numerous sorts, including a word jumble game and a bean bag toss into various decorated size bras attached to a board for cool prizes, such as scarves, socks, water bottles, and candy, all with pink ribbons on them for breast cancer awareness.
There was also a hands-on exercise of a lump-riddled orthopedic breast to encourage breast self-exams, with small and large lumps to feel and identify. There were goody bags filled with information, candy, and more.
This is the fourth year for this event, although it was on a short hiatus due to the pandemic. It was again organized by Zee, who received excellent community support from all sectors: retail, medical, community, and service groups.
The three speakers represented the excellent survivor rates now being seen for those who are diagnosed with breast cancer, due to previous research projects and medical breakthroughs. Nancy Logan has been diagnosed with breast cancer three times and successfully gone through surgery and treatment, and now supports women going through the treatments. At her salon in Lake Arrowhead Village, L.A. Brow and Beauty Bar, she offers cosmetic reconstructive tattooing for cancer survivors and accident and burn victims, and showed photos of the realistic results, using skin color inks. “It gives me great satisfaction to be able to help a woman return to feeling beautiful again after such drastic surgery, through my cosmetic tattooing,” she said.
Another speaker told of her surgery journey and the current status of her medicine maintenance to stay healthy, with it returning after 30 years, showing that continued vigilance is necessary.
The last speaker was recently diagnosed and is currently going through medical treatments and feeling healthy. All three women told of looking positively toward a happy future. Although they are not permanently cured of cancer since they must continue to test and take medicine treatments, they have optimism since so many new treatments have been developed over the past decades, due to research.
Breast cancer survivors in today’s world can live full and satisfying lives if the disease is caught early, so all were encouraged to complete monthly self-examinations. It is also important to get yearly mammograms, reminding residents of the new top-quality imaging equipment now available at MCH. Those not able to afford the test should contact the Soroptimists, who have a mammo-grant program, enabling women to take advantage of this lifesaving testing. The BRCA blood-gene test is also now being considered for early diagnosis.
This was not a fundraiser, but an awareness and education event reminding everyone that testing saves lives; that is the reason that October has been dedicated as Breast Cancer Awareness month.
“This event was to raise awareness, since the general public doesn’t know the hospital does care and how important it is to do mammograms; they save lives,” said Zee. “I want to thank the hospital auxiliary, Justine and Sherry Altmeyer, the activities director, Jensen’s and Hortencia’s for the food, Wildflowers for the beautiful bouquet of flowers, Inland Empire Therapy Dogs and ROW Comfort Pets, the ROW Soroptimists, and L.A. Brow and Beauty Bar for the donations and support.”
The Mountain Fifes & Drums Corps led the parade in the rose garden. (Photos by Rhea-Frances Tetley)
Prizes were awarded for a successful bean bag toss.
The Inland Empire Comfort Pets pranced along with their owners in the procession.