October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month with an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Why is this so important during the month of October? Awareness is the key ingredient to the annual month-long campaign. Maybe breast cancer has affected someone in your family, so why all the hoopla about pink ribbons?
What does the pink ribbon have to do with breast cancer? The pink ribbon is an international symbol of breast cancer awareness. Pink ribbons, and the color pink in general, identifies the wearer or promoter with the breast cancer brand and express moral support for women with breast cancer. Pink ribbons are most commonly seen during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Pink Ribbon is recognized as a symbol of support for breast cancer issues, treatment and especially for finding a cure. More importantly, the key motivational spirit behind the Pink Ribbon movement is to make every woman and adolescent girl aware of breast health, breast education, and breast screening. If PINK can make that happen, more power to PINK!
Diseases in breasts are very common. Some of us have a friend, a work colleague, or a family member who has been affected by breast cancer. Perhaps, early detection could have saved our loved ones. By wearing a Pink Ribbon, you may just have reminded a woman to get a mammogram or remember to complete a monthly breast self-exam.
In 2019, an estimated 268,800 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed among women and approximately 2,670 cases were diagnosed in men. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. Currently, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13 percent. This means there is a 1 in 8 chance she will develop breast cancer. This also means there is a 7 in 8 chance she will never have the disease. (Statistics taken from the American Cancer Association website.)
Today there are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. This includes women still being treated and those who have completed treatment. During the past couple of months, I learned about a group of survivors, Pink Ribbon Girls in Tipp City, Ohio, that are helping other women who are fighting the disease.
Heather Salazar is the CEO and President of Pink Ribbon Girls (PRG), a grassroots nonprofit organization that balances the fear and uncertainty that breast cancer brings to individuals and their families by providing direct services, education, and support. Heather grew up in Tipp City — her parents, Dale and Suzan Printz are Arcanum High School graduates; and her grandparents, Dave and Mari Beth Printz still live in rural Arcanum. Heather and her husband Steve live in Troy, Ohio, and have four children. Heather is a graduate of Wright State University with a B.S. in Psychology, Communication, and Social Work. She is a breast cancer survivor herself, and her motto is “No One Travels this Road Alone. “
Pink Ribbons Girls was founded by breast cancer survivors (one of which was Heather herself) who have a passion for supporting and empowering others who are currently in the fight against breast and gynecological cancers. They don’t just TALK about cancer; they TAKE ON cancer. They state they are ready to make the burden lighter by striving to balance the fear and uncertainty it brings to individuals and families by providing FREE direct services of healthy meals, house cleanings, and rides to and from treatment, and peer support to their clients. They are currently serving in the communities of Central Ohio, Midwest Ohio, Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, the St. Louis, Mo., area and the San Francisco Bay Area in California.
Because of donor support, they can put money to work for cancer patients and their families. They have a “give where you live” mentality. All the money that is donated stays in the community which it is given. Their meals are prepared by executive chefs who focus on nutrition that a cancer patient requires; each meal is flash-frozen and delivered directly to their clients’ homes.
House cleaning services are provided by professional, bonded, and insured cleaning companies. Rides to treatment in Ohio are provided through local transportation specialists. In Missouri and San Francisco, PRG uses UberHealth drivers. They stress that PRG’s mission and goals never change, they have grown because their donors’ support has grown. In 2019, PRG served more than 108,576 meals, 2,420 house cleanings and 6,872 rides to treatment for their clients and their families.
Wow, what an amazing story about a powerful woman with ties to our beloved Darke County! If you are interested in finding out more about Pink Ribbon Girls, or want to send them your support, check out their website: https://www.pinkribbongirls.org/about-prg
Five things you need to know about breast cancer: 1) It’s not just a grandma’s disease and your deodorant doesn’t cause it; 2) Early detection is not a cure: 3) It’s not always a lump; 4) Breast cancer isn’t just one disease; and 5) Men can get breast cancer, too.
This article dedicated to the memory of my Aunt Cheryl Lee (Moore) Stanton who grew up in Darke County and graduated from New Madison High School in the mid-1960s and succumbed to metastatic breast cancer in 2009. “Thank you for being an important part of my life, thank you for the great times we shared, and thank you for the days you made brighter in my life.”