Pink Paws 5K Run/Walk During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Ohio University senior nursing class (photo provided)

As the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month draws near, the senior nursing class of Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions kicks it into high gear to finish preparing for the Pink Paws for the Cause 5K run/walk. 

The event is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 2 from 12-4 p.m. on the Athens bike path and begins near the Convocation Center tailgate area. Area residents and the Ohio University community alike are encouraged to attend this event, whether to participate in the run/walk, cheer on participants, or learn more about local breast health resources.

Attendance is free, race registration is $15 per person, and t-shirts may be purchased for $15 each.

Those wishing to participate in the run/walk, donate to the cause, or purchase a T-shirt can find additional information at www.pinkpawsforthecause5K.eventbrite.com.

With one Ohio woman losing her life to breast cancer every five hours, the disease affects many people, whether directly or indirectly.

In 1990, Congress passed the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act, which mandated that the CDC regulate the program. The program not only pays for testing, but provides other supportive services as well.

The entire Ohio University senior nursing class, which totals 89 students, is involved in the fight against breast cancer this year. Nursing student Monica Fickey is spearheading the Breast Cancer Awareness month project this year with fellow student Kacie McNamara.

Fickey said that she and the other nursing students have worked closely with Becca Thomas, director of events and marketing for the Susan G. Komen Foundation in Columbus.

McNamara said that southern Ohio is a difficult area for the Susan G. Komen Foundation to reach and that “there’s only so much that can be done with the resources that they have” at some of the regional health centers, so the nursing school is happy to help raise awareness and (provide) educational resources.

All of the money raised at the 5K will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which will provide informational pamphlets at the race about breast cancer and how to get screened. The need for education and assistance in Central and Southeastern Ohio is great.

“The initiative and passion they've shown to make a difference in their community is inspiring,” Thomas said of the nursing class. “The money they will raise through event registration and additional fundraising will support vital breast health education, screening and treatment programs in Central and Southeastern Ohio, just like the program at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine that provides free clinical breast exams, mammogram vouchers, patient navigation, transportation assistance and breast health education.”

Organizing the 5K has taken a lot of dedication from everyone; however, Fickey said that this summer, she realized that the project would be more personal for her after finding out that her grandmother is a breast cancer survivor.

“I go to Perry County for clinicals and they don’t have one hospital in that entire county,” Fickey said. “Down in southern Ohio (there) is such a big need…health, clinics, they just need everything down here.”

Fickey guessed that many of the residents of Athens do not have all of the resources or information they need to be ready to fight for the cure.

“It affects everyone,” she said. “That’s why it’s such an important thing for us to get involved with.”

Breast Cancer Statistics

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

• Female breast cancer: 120.4 cases per 100,000 women reported in Ohio in 2011

The Susan G. Komen Foundation

• In 2012, 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed worldwide
• Every five hours, one woman in Ohio will lose her life to breast cancer
• Women in central and southeastern Ohio are dying from breast cancer at a higher rate than the rest of Ohio, as well as at a higher rate than the rest of the United States

National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, National Institutes of Health, CDC

• $150 million is annually funded to the program through Congress across the U.S

• Currently funds 67 programs in:
• All 50 states
• The District of Columbia
• Five US territories
• Eleven tribes or tribal organizations
• Diagnosed more than 56,000 cases of breast cancer from 1991 to 2011
• Diagnosed more than 3,200 cases of cervical cancer from 1991 to 2011
• Provided more than 10.7 million breast and cervical cancer screening exams
• Served more than 4.3 million women in the U.S. during that time span
• The screenings and diagnostic services through the program cost approximately $145 per woman