It’s October — Breast Cancer Awareness Month — and Crossroads residents of all ages are pulling out their pink in support and solidarity at various fundraising and awareness-raising events around town.
If you have not been affected personally by breast cancer, then you undoubtedly know family members or friends who have. About one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to breastcancer.org. In 2021, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
Breast cancer became the most common cancer globally as of 2021, accounting for 12% of all new annual cancer cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Earlier this month, Brittany’s Believers 5K Trail Walk and Run at Son Valley Ranch was organized by five close friends of Brittany Langridge. Langridge was a Victoria resident who died in February 2020 at the age of 33 of Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and leptomeningeal disease. Langridge was a nurse who was passionate about her profession. So her friends wanted to honor her memory with an event to raise money for nursing scholarships. They raised enough money to donate six $1,500 nursing scholarships to Victoria College. Because Langridge placed so much importance on early detection, they also handed out shower cards reminding women to check themselves regularly.
The support comes from area youth as well. For example, Dig Pink, a volleyball battle between East and West high school students, and Pink Out, a fundraiser hosted by the West High School cheerleaders, both raised money earlier this month for local families affected by breast cancer.
On Friday, more than 350 Crossroads residents are expected to attend the sold-out Project Tickle Pink event at the Spring Creek Place Event Center. The event, which was started in 2012 by Bob Constantine and Joe Anthony Pena, benefits Crossroads Guardians of Hope, a nonprofit that supports people in our local area — Victoria, Calhoun, Jackson, Lavaca, Gonzales, DeWitt, Goliad and Refugio counties — touched by any type of cancer. In 2019, the event raised $24,000. This year, the event is larger, and they expect to raise even more money. “Every nickel, dime and dollar” goes back to the people in the community, Constantine said. The money might be used to pay for local cancer patients’ doctor’s appointments, medications or overnight stays on trips to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, among other expenses. In addition to the catered dinner, this year, eight women and an 8-year-old girl, all cancer survivors, will be pampered for a day with makeovers, lunch, limousine transportation and a photoshoot.
On Oct. 22, Citizens Medical Center will host a day of wearing pink when staff members will be photographed with a pink fire truck for social media posts to raise awareness about breast cancer. On Oct. 23, the hospital will host its 5th Annual Citizens Run Against Cancer to raise money for local cancer patients. The half marathon will start at 7:30 a.m., and the 5K will start at 8 a.m. in DeLeon Plaza. Additionally, half of the proceeds from necklaces that read, “Hope,” which are sold at Regal Jewelers, go to the Citizens Medical Foundation for local cancer patients. A Mammography Fund also exists to help cover the expense of mammograms for women in the community who cannot afford them.
On a walk-in basis, the Imaging Center at DeTar Hospital North hosted “Wine-Down Wednesday” from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 13 for women in need of a late-afternoon mammogram appointment and refreshments. The hospital’s imaging center will offer such services again at the same time Oct. 20. Also, the hospital offers mammograms for $99 including the radiologist’s reading fee throughout October.
We applaud these and the many other efforts around the Crossroads to bring awareness, as well as financial support, to one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among American women.
As women have been putting off getting mammograms more because of the pandemic, we want to remind them that the noninvasive X-ray used to check breasts for breast cancer is the only test shown to reduce breast cancer deaths, according to the American College of Radiology. Mammograms can detect cancer early when it is most treatable — long before it can be felt.