By Megan Rodriguez
In honor of breast cancer awareness month, Oct. 9 was proclaimed “Wear Pink Day” for College Station and Bryan, as officially announced by both city mayors and on behalf of both councils.
The formal proclamation ceremony was held Monday morning at CHI St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital lobby. Hospital employees, members of the American Cancer Society, Mayor of Bryan Andrew Nelson, and Mayor of College Station Karl Mooney were in attendance.
Monday’s proclamation ceremony is an integral part of the fight against cancer and a pleasure to be a part of says Nelson.
“The whole standing up for breast cancer, making strides, surviving and thriving — all of those things are really contributing and making an impact here and it is a pleasure to be able to serve by giving a proclamation and supporting this event,” says Nelson. “I appreciate all the people in the community who are working to end breast cancer, and this is yet another example of how many people in the community serve and it is a delight to serve a community that loves to serve.”
As someone who was personally affected by breast cancer when he lost his mother to the disease, Rick Napper, president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph Health, says he understands the pain this sickness causes and the importance of programs like “Wear Pink Day.”
“We operate a fully functional cancer center and breast cancer has affected almost every person in the United States, either through family members or friends,” Napper says. “There’s a lot of progress that’s been made but we need to continue to do that, so this event is in support of trying to fight that battle.”
Events like these are important partnership opportunities, according to Stephanie Chesson, senior community development manager of the American Cancer Society South Region.
“Having the health systems backing the awareness aspect is important because when you bring awareness it builds the effort to fundraise, because if people don’t know about it they can’t fundraise,” says Chesson. “Having the health systems involved is important. They also can reach out to so many patients, whether they are people already getting screened or not, they’re the front lines so having their recommendations through primary care is very important.”
“Wear Pink Day” is only a step in the hospital’s much larger goal toward ending breast cancer all together says Napper.
“The battle against breast cancer is ongoing — we do it year around,” says Napper. “St. Joseph’s is committed to a solution of breast cancer, not the treatment of it so we want to look toward how we get rid of it all together.”
“Wear Pink Day” is just one of three major events CHI St. Joseph Health and the American Cancer Society have partnered together for this month according to Chesson. The others include the the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Brazos Valley two-mile fundraising walk and the Real Men Wear Pink campaign, which is another aspect of the making strides walk that was just launched this year. In this campaign, men agree to raise a minimum of $1,000 with a goal to raise $25,000 and wear some kind of pink throughout the entire month of October.
“CHI St. Joseph is our flagship sponsor for the Making Strides event and they also comprise half of our candidates for our Real Men Wear Pink, so eight of our 16 candidates are from the system,” says Chesson. “Together we have several people on the committee for our Making Strides Event from CHI St. Joseph Health and we just partner together to get the out the message about getting screened, early detection and prevention for breast cancer, and also together raising funds to support research and our patient programs for our local patients.”
Participants can learn more and sign up for the walk online at www.makingstrideswalk.org/brazosvalley or visit the check-in area at the event on Oct. 22.