POINT PLEASANT — “A tradition began on Oct. 2 in 1995, on that day West Virginia celebrated their first Breast Cancer Awareness Day, a day that has come to encompass what Breast Cancer Awareness Month is all about, the tradition continues and hundreds of West Virginians will gather across the state and demonstrate the commitment to fight the disease.”
These were the words spoken by Mason County Community Educational Outreach Service (CEOS) President Clinedda Austin who opened the organization’s annual Breast Cancer Awareness wreath hanging ceremony.
Supporters and survivors of Breast Cancer Awareness Month gathered together on Oct. 1 outside of the Mason County Library for the ceremony which is organized each year by the members of the Mason County CEOS.
“We are here today to raise awareness of breast cancer, to honor those who are fighting the battle and for those who have lost the battle,” said Austin.
President of the Mason County Commission Rick Handley had the honor of hanging the wreath and Pastor Mel Mock of New Hope Bible Baptist Church in Point Pleasant said a prayer over the ceremony.
Following the wreath hanging ceremony, a reception was held inside the library where light refreshments were served and those in attendance could light a candle in remembrance of an individual who lost their fight to cancer or in honor of a cancer survivor or an individual who is battling cancer currently. A door prize was given out at the reception as well as educational information and free giveaways.
“Approximately 1,470 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer after this year,” said Austin. “Breast cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer-related death in West Virginia women and approximately 290 will die from the disease this year. There is a lead in learning the risks of breast cancer and making aware early detection, the yearly mammogram is extremely important.”
The members of the Mason County CEOS have been participating in fundraisers throughout the year in support of breast cancer awareness including hot dog sales at the Mason County Courthouse and selling water at the Mothman Festival.
“An estimated one in eight women will develop invasive breast in their lifetime…,” said Austin. “A woman’s chance of dying from breast cancer is one in 38.”
Upcoming and current fundraisers sponsored by the members during this month include the 10th annual Walk for Women on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Krodel Park’s Robert and Louise Claflin Walking Trail in Point Pleasant. Registration for the event is free and will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the walk at 11 a.m. The walk will be one lap around the Claflin Walking Trail which is just over a mile long. There will be refreshments provided by the Kountry Kritters 4-H Club and several door prizes donated by local businesses to be given away to participants. During the walk this year, there will also be entertainment provided by the Ohio River Dance Team. All of the funds raised from this walk will be going to benefit the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment (D&T) Fund.
Also for a fee of $10 anyone may request that a flock of pink flamingos be placed in another person’s yard. This is known as “You Have Been Flamingoed” and a request can be made by calling 304-593-3713. Also, t-shirts are for sale at the Mason County Health Department at the cost of $10 for sizes small-extra large and $12 for sizes 1X-3X. The shirts feature a sock monkey with the logo “Sock it to Cancer.”
Erin (Perkins) Johnson is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.