How you can help make a difference in the fight against breast cancer

Alabama House Minority Leader Craig FordAlabama House Minority Leader Craig Ford

 Normally, I write my editorials about political issues facing our state is facing. But sometimes it is better to use my position as an elected official to help raise awareness for worthy causes that aren’t political but need our support.
    As you may be aware, October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a time when we help raise awareness about the causes and need to test for breast cancer, as well as how people like you and me can help with the treatment, prevention and eradication of breast cancer.
    Most, if not all, of us have been impacted by breast cancer. Perhaps you are a survivor or are currently facing your own battle with breast cancer. Or maybe someone close to you – a mother, sister, aunt, friend or someone you work with – has fought her own battle with breast cancer. Even men can be diagnosed with breast cancer.
    Breast cancer is a disease that affects all of us, and we can all play a role in helping raise awareness, and supporting treatments and cancer research.
    The first step is to talk about the importance of screening and how to recognize the symptoms of breast cancer, because even under ideal conditions the test can miss some types of cancer.
    The American Cancer Society has a very helpful website that provides information on screening and symptoms. That website can be found at http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/index. Or you can also learn more by calling the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345.
    It can be uncomfortable to talk about such a personal subject, but it is important that we do. Lives depend on it. Our children need to be taught the importance of regular screenings so that when they are old enough they continue to get tested regularly. Others might not think that they are old enough to be diagnosed with breast cancer or might put off getting tested because they do not have any symptoms and do not want to go through the hassle or expense of getting tested.
    That is why it is so important that we talk with each other and help raise awareness.
    Additionally, each of us can help play a role in supporting research and helping make treatments more available.
    One of the ways you can help is by supporting the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks that will be taking place throughout Alabama this month.
    The Making Strides walks are hosted by the American Cancer Society to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Last year alone, the walks raised $68 million, and since 1993 have raised over $528 million.
    The funding from these walks is used to help provide free information and services such as transportation, lodging, wigs, support programs and financial assistance. The money is also used to continue supporting research and to help provide mammograms to women who otherwise might not be able to afford them.
    There are several ways you can help support the Making Strides walks. One way is to go online and contribute at makingstrides.acsevents.org and clicking on the “Get Involved” tab. You can also find more information on how to participate in these walks under this tab.
    There are three walks that will be taking place in Alabama this year: one in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Nov. 2, one in Montgomery on Nov. 2 and one in Mobile on Saturday, Oct. 26. If you cannot participate in one of the walks, I hope you will consider donating to support them.
    I know that most of the people reading this already give a lot of their money to their church and various charities, as well as other worthy organizations like the volunteer firefighters. But a small donation can make a big difference in the life of a cancer patient. That is why I am asking you to get involved and support the American Cancer Society and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks.
    Each of us has the ability to make a difference. And each of us also has something to lose if we don’t. We all know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. We owe it to them and the millions of other cancer patients and survivors to do something to support the fight against breast cancer.
    Will you get involved?

 
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