(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Things will be a lot pinker in downtown Sikeston, beginning this weekend and lasting through the month of October.
Pink ribbons around the town, as well as pink-themed window displays are part of "Paint the town pink," will help mark Breast Cancer Awareness month.
"Maybe when people walk by and notice the windows are all pink, they'll think 'Oh, it's Breast Cancer Awareness month, I need to schedule my mammogram,'" said Marcie Lawson, community manager for health initiatives at the Sikeston American Cancer Society office.
There is a clear focus for the downtown decorations and Tuesday's breast cancer awareness luncheon. "We want to raise awareness about breast cancer and to remind people to get their yearly mammograms," said Brenda Freed of the Scott County Health Department, a committee member in organizing this year's luncheon.
Lawson said awareness is especially crucial this year. "This is the first time that incident rates have declined," she said. "We're thinking this is not because there are fewer cases but because fewer people are getting mammograms."
Mary Carolyn Adams, RTR(ARRT) supervisor in the mammography department at Missouri Delta Medical Center, agreed of the importance of the luncheon for her staff. "It is a very personal thing to us because we have been giving mammograms since 1985," she said. "The luncheon is very important, because not only is it a service to women in or community, but we know this is our big month."
But another important thing this year, part of "Paint the town pink," are two special hours for shopping. Some downtown businesses have agreed to stay open late and donate a portion of their proceeds during 4 and 6 p.m. Tuesday to the luncheon.
"Hopefully ladies can have a night out and enjoy the evening with a friend," Freed said.
The night was a result of committee brainstorming for a way to involve the downtown, where several businesses already supported the initiative.
Proceeds from the luncheon and those shopping hours are put into a Project Mammography fund, Adams said.
"We help individuals that do not have the means to get a mammogram with the funds to do so," Adams said.
Last year's luncheon raised about $800, Lawson said. That fund is "absolutely wiped out," and has been since the middle of the summer.
The luncheon not only raises funds and awareness, but also education. Those involved said they hope to see some new faces at this year's luncheon.
"We encourage any women who are interested in learning a little bit more about breast cancer to come out," Lawson said.
At the luncheon, Dr. Muhammad Salamat, medical oncologist for MDMC, will discuss the latest treatments to fight breast cancer. Lawson will also address the group. "I'll be talking about cancer facts," she said.
For instance, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. And, breast cancer is the No. 1 diagnosed and No. 2 factor that leads to death in women.
Breast cancer was formerly known as an "older woman's disease," Adams pointed out. But since people now urge screening begin when a woman is between 35 and 40, it is being caught earlier in women.
"And early detection does save lives," she said.
This year's luncheon is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the First United Methodist Church at 1307 Main St. Tickets are $6 each and can be purchased from the local American Cancer Society office, located at 201 N. New Madrid, or by calling 471-1823. Lunches and materials may also be picked up for those unable to attend.
Also from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, downtown businesses including Sam's Fine Jewelry, the Accent Shop, Joy's Bridal Shop, Purse'N'ality, Falkoffs and Susie's Bake Shoppe will donate a portion of their proceeds to the Project Mammography fund, which gives free mammograms to those who can't afford them.
For more information, or an updated list of the businesses participating, contact Marcie Lawson at the ACS, 471-1823.