On October 22, Experiment in Self-Reliance hosted a information forum, a 1k walk and “Survivor Social” in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Cancer Services’ Wellness Director Julie Lanford led a information forum during which she discussed misconceptions about cancer and ways to reduce cancer risks. At the end of the forum, breast cancer survivors were asked to come forward. ESR staff members Jackie Baldwin, Debra Bradshaw and Paige Winn represented survivors and were given a gift from Cancer Services.
Baldwin, who has been cancer-free for 14 years, talked about the shame she felt during cancer and after cancer.
“I didn’t know cancer before it knocked on my door, so I want to educate and inspire and let all know there is life after cancer and there is life through cancer,” she said. “The body changes but the heart and mind doesn’t. So, let’s drop the shame and get in the game.”
Baldwin is also a huge advocate of Cancer Services.
“You are among a strong support group of people who knew how I felt,” she said of the agency. “They are a light at the end of the tunnel and give back directly to the community.”
Winn found her cancer by accident.
“The best advice I can give any woman is to get a mammogram every year,” she said.
Following the forum, ESR staff, clients and others headed outside for the 1k. Participants wore pink shirts, ribbons, scarves and hats. The pink items were sold before the event. Proceeds from the sales and walk entrance fees benefitted Cancer Services.
The Survivor Social, held after the walk, gave staff members a chance to talk about their experiences and enjoy pink-colored snacks.
Bradshaw, a survivor since 1999, shared her story, reminding others to be strong, even when it seems toughest to do.
“In all you know and do, never ever give up. Through the good times and bad times, always speak life – live every day to the fullest, value others and love yourself.”
Cancer Services, a United Way agency, offers free services to cancer patients and survivors. Services include patient advocacy, equipment and supplies, wigs, medication and transportation to treatment. Experiment in Self-Reliance offers a number of services for the working poor.