Men, women and children are being asked to lace up their shoes to help combat a leading killer of women in the United States and the Augusta area.
The local chapter of the American Breast Cancer Association will hold its ninth annual Pink Ribbon Run at the Julian Smith Casino on Lake Olmstead at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. There will be a 5K run/walk for adults and a one-mile run for children. Adult registration is $15 and child registration is $10.
Net proceeds from the run go to support breast cancer education efforts, free mammograms for the uninsured or under-insured and breast cancer research.
"Until they find a cure you have to be your own doctor," says Reba Sarkar, president of the area ABCA chapter. Sarkar, who preaches prevention, encourages women to perform monthly breast exams, get regular checkups and get a mammogram every year.
"You have to take care of yourself," she said.
Three women in Georgia die of breast cancer each day, Sarkar said, adding that the number is unacceptable.
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States behind lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. This year, more than 211,000 women will have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and one in seven women will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.
Sarkar says her organization is trying to raise awareness in younger women as the disease is becoming more prevalent and is particularly vicious in women under the age of 40. Insurance companies, she says, also are less likely to reimburse younger women for mammograms.
"(With) younger people under 40, insurance doesn't want to pay so we are there," Sarkar says. "We say, 'we don't care, if you find a lump and insurance says 'go away, you don't need a mammorgram', please for God's sake go have a second opinion and call us. We'll pay."
Breast cancer survivors on-hand will be honored and given pink roses. One of the survivors, or "winners," as Sarkar puts it, for beating the disease, is Kathleen Fervan, the culinary arts department head at Augusta Technical College. She will host a bake sale benefitting the group.
In 1993, Sarkar moved to Georgia from New York with her husband, Dr. Nurul Sarkar, a breast cancer research scientist and professor of medicine at the Medical College of Georgia. After learning of a friend's diagnosis, Mrs. Sarkar and a group of women came together to start the area chapter of the ABCA. In 1997, they held their first Pink Ribbon Run.
Registration forms are available at area Wachovia and Georgia Bank and Trust branches or online at the ABCA's Web site, www.abca.info. For more information, call 860-8127 or 860-2557.
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