May is the month for women.
May 8 celebrates motherhood, and the entire month of May has been labeled Breast Cancer Prevention Month and is dedicated to lengthening women's lives through health care.
The local chapter of the American Breast Cancer Association is offering to pamper all women, especially cancer survivors and mothers, with an evening of fine food, dancing, entertainment and health information.
Reba Sarkar, the president of the local chapter, said the group will hold its fourth annual A Tribute to Mothers food festival at Savannah Rapids Pavilion on May 13. The group raises money and awareness for the prevention and early detection of breast cancer by offering free mammograms to anyone in need.
"It's a fun way to tell women and mothers to take care of their health," Sarkar said, adding that breast cancer is the fifth-leading cause of death among women. "Our whole motto is prevention. We not only tell (women) that, but we provide the means for people who need it."
Lynn Rodriguez, of Evans, knows how important regular mammograms are and took advantage of the association's service nearly five years ago, when she temporarily had no health insurance.
"Because of my age, I knew that we needed to keep up regular mammograms for our health," Rodriguez said. "At that time, I was in my mid-40s. It was just a crucial time in my life and I did not want to have a lapse in my health."
But Rodriguez knows how important mothers are in a family and how often they forgo attention to their own well-being to care for their families.
"If you put yourself first, then everybody will be happy and you can take care of everything," Sarkar said. "The one thing is you need to put yourself first."
Sarkar is hoping the event, which raised nearly $8,000 for mammograms and cancer research in 2004, will spread the importance of mammograms to catch cancer early.
The festival is slated for 7-10:30 p.m. and includes food from such establishments as Roux's Gourmet, Bistro 491, Hot Foods By Calvin and Edible Artistry.
A live band will provide music for dancing and live and silent auctions, which will include several items donated by corporate sponsors such as two watches from Windsor Jewelers, three rugs from Rugs of Distinction and a unique bottle of wine from La Maison.
"It's wonderful," said Rodriguez, who said she volunteers at association events as a way to give back. "The spotlight of the event is breast cancer awareness and the importance of keeping up your health, women's health.''
Each cancer survivor will be presented with a pink rose, provided by Weathers Flowers and Gifts. Those who lost the battle with cancer also will be remembered.
Tickets for the semi-formal event cost $25 through April 30, and $30 thereafter and at the door. Corporate tables can be reserved for a $500 or $1,000 donation.
All proceeds of the event will benefit the association, Sarkar said. The money will be used to provide free mammograms and to fund breast cancer research.
"You need to catch cancer before it catches you so you can be ahead of the game," Sarkar said, adding that an early diagnosis is not the end. "There is life after breast cancer."
For more information or tickets, call 860-8127 or 860-2557.
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