Lake County united on August 9 to break breast cancer barriers at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer kick-off breakfast at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Merrillville. The spotlight shined bright on survivors, their stories, and local doctors that provided a kaleidoscope of information regarding the resources that are available parallel to the detection of breast cancer. The gathering made it clear that without the community’s support, breast cancer would be a lonely trial with little to no answers.
The event included booths that coincide with the cause, such as EBW Bra, ACS Cancer Action Network, Kauffman Chiropractic, and Avon, the national presenting sponsor of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
EmCee Jenny Craig-Brown, executive leader of the NWIndiana Life team, encouraged everyone to pull out their phones and take a picture of the people that surrounded them.
“Look around the room—this is our team,” Craig-Brown said. “We are united and ignited for the fight against breast cancer.”
Rachel Boose, a breast cancer survivor diagnosed at Methodist Hospitals, served as the event’s keynote speaker. Boose spoke to the heart of the matter by beginning with her story.
“There was a lump on my breast, but I went on my way thinking everything was okay,” Boose said. “The lump, however, continued to get bigger. The pain was getting severe, and I knew I was in trouble.”
Boose did not back down in the face of her diagnosis.
“I was ready to fight and not back down no matter how bad it was,” Boose said. “There are many lessons I have learned through this that I want others to know: Always pay attention to your body, no matter what may be overlooked by a doctor. Speak up, even if you don’t want to know the answer. And always do breast exams, whether you’re my age or not. Early detection is way better than waiting until it is too late. If you are scared, just do it.”
“I was diagnosed on my 50th birthday,” said Pam Mangiaracina, an attendee who battled and conquered breast cancer. “My children didn’t think it was anything, but as time passed by it was something. This event is important for our community because this is information we all need to know and share.”
Dr. Janushi Dalal, a radiologist specialist at Women’s Diagnostic Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center, shared her passion for the area and how it has contributed to breast cancer awareness and advancements in the region.
“I’ve lived my entire life in this community,” Dalal said. “I’ve always known that women’s health care in general has always been a big passion of mine. They play so many roles, and there really isn’t any time to be sick. Taking charge of your health is the most important.”
Dalal mentioned various solutions that are offered for women in terms of breast cancer detection.
“3-D Mammogram is something we all need to be asking for and leads to early detection,” Dalal said. “Breast MRI’s are even more sensitive: they help us see what we could have missed on the mammogram.”
Though breast cancer may impact the life of a patient, their family, and their friends drastically, Dalal concluded her speech by promoting the positive mindset we must promote and share.
“1 out of 8 women will not survive breast cancer; but what I want you to take away, is the positive—that 7 out of 8 will,” Dalal said. “Please, spread the word, because early detection saves lives.”
There are multiple ways to contribute to this cause, whether it’s attending the Making Strides of Lake County Walk on October 14 or fundraising with a team leader kit.
“Today, you can say you’ve made an impact,” Craig-Brown said. “You have helped a researcher who is going to put an end to this disease or the mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer just this morning. Every person who helps raise funds is getting one step closer to this disease becoming a distant memory.”
If you are interested in sponsoring this year's event, there is still time. Each donation helps sustain the mission to educate the community and the fight to end breast cancer. Click here for more details about upcoming events, and how to donate: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/MakingStridesAgainstBreastCancer/MSABCCY18NCR?pg=entry&fr_id=89534.