By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — Healthcare officials, businesses, community groups and individuals are all playing their part this month in raising awareness of breast cancer, funding treatment and encouraging preventative action.
Locals are making a difference this Breast Cancer Awareness Month, whether it’s the salon offering a special deal, the walker contributing to massive fundraising efforts or the individual women making sure to get a mammogram.
For the Medina Fire Department, their efforts were well-received last year, when the fire fighters wore pink shirts and shields on their helmets. This year, the MFD Benevolent Association is going a step further, selling hundreds of pink tee-shirts.
“We raised awareness last year, but wanted to raise funds this year,” said firefighter Steve Cooley.
The shirts are available at the Medina Fire Department, with the proceeds from the $20 shirts benefiting the Knights Kaderli Memorial Fund.
The fundraising activities in Orleans County are stunningly strong. According to the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer website, a walk last Saturday at Watts Farms in Albion raised more than $49,000 for the American Cancer Society.
The top fundraiser was Emily Blanchard, who raised $2,565. She walked in a team with her parents, Albion Teachers Association members Bruce and Jennifer Blanchard, who walk in honor of his later mother.
“We are fortunate to have a profound young leader in our school and in our community,” Albion teacher Betsy Krenning said of Blanchard.
Nicole Helsdon participated in the walk, and said that seeing so many people turn out for the cause was a major boost.
“The Watt Farms walk was huge,” she said. “We like to see the support of so many people and know that the funds are going to research and treatment.”
In downtown Albion and Medina, pink displays fill storefronts, including a window display decorated by the Orleans Community Health Community Partners Wellness Program at Case-Nic Cookies. More than 40 ribbons have been distributed by OCH.
“We’re promoting awareness of breast cancer and urging women to get mammogram,” Helsdon, the health and fitness coordinator for Commuity Partners. “They save lives and there’s no reason to not have one.”
At Viola’s Boutique in Albion, breast cancer survivor Linda Horn Reed has contributed pink decorative gift baskets and boxes that line a half-wall. Those are being sold to benefit the ACS.
At Salon De Coiffeur in Medina, there’s plenty of pink beauty supplies, hair cutting capes and pink streaks being styled into customers’ hair, which funds the Hope Lodge at Roswell Park.
Reed said seeing the pink displays in downtown storefronts is heartening.
“It’s very satisfying to see that they are doing so much,” she said.
At Medina Memorial Hospital, an awareness day is being held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 26 with fundraisers for updates to the mammography department’s changing room and sound system. There will also be signups for mammograms, which can be provided for free to uninsured or under-insured women over the age of 40.
“Women are surviving breast cancer and live longer because of treatment advances,” Helsdon said. “While one in eight women get diagnosed with breast cancer, when it’s diagnosed earlier there is a much higher survival rate.”
For more information about the mammogram programs, visit Community Partners at 415 West Avenue, Medina or call 798-6641.Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.