Breast Cancer Alliance Kicks-Off Awareness Month With Flag Raising
By Richard Kaufman
Last Thursday, the Breast Cancer Alliance (BCA), a Greenwich-based nonprofit, held a flag raising ceremony at Greenwich Town Hall to kick-off Breast Cancer Awareness Month for October.
The BCA’s mission, according to their website, is to improve the survival rate and quality of life for those impacted by breast cancer through better prevention, early detection, treatment and cure. The BCA promotes these goals by investing in innovative research, breast surgery fellowships, regional education, and dignified support and screening for the underserved.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly altered many facets of everyday life over the past seven months, the BCA remains steadfast in raising awareness and fighting breast cancer.
“During the pandemic, understandably, people have been focused elsewhere. We’ve been social distancing, we’ve been quarantining, we haven’t had events, we’ve been altering our lifestyles, but that hasn’t changed the rates of diagnosis. What has changed is accessibility to treatment; it has stalled research, it has prevented women who were not in immediate crisis with breast cancer from getting the screening that they would normally get in a timely fashion,” said Yonni Wattenmaker, Executive Director of the BCA. Wattenmaker pointed out that breast cancer affects one in eight women and one in just under 1,000 men.
“The pandemic has instilled greater fear in the women who are going for treatment during this time. It’s delayed surgeries. Being aware of breast health is perhaps more important at this time, because it’s so easy for it to take a backseat to everything else that we’ve all been having to deal with.”
Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo was on hand at the flag raising ceremony, and issued a proclamation which recognized the work of the BCA and the month of October.
“As we celebrate the success and the efforts of organizations like the Breast Cancer Alliance, groups that have contributed to the early detection survival rate of almost 90%, there is still work to be done,” Camillo said last week. “We salute their passion, focus, and success, and stand in support of them as the race towards the goal of 100%.”
The BCA is holding several fundraising and awareness events throughout the month of October.
The annual luncheon and fashion show, which highlights survivors, will be held on Oct. 19, and it will be entirely virtual. Actress Kate Walsh will be the speaker during the luncheon. The program will also include a memorial tribute to BCA co-founder, Lucy Day, who passed away earlier this year.
For more information on the accompanying silent auction, and to purchase tickets for the luncheon and fashion show, go to one.bidpal.net/BCALuncheon2020/welcome.
Back in May, the BCA raised over $100,000 during a one day fitness event for breast cancer patients who have been affected by COVID-19. This month, the second Get Fit For Hope Challenge will take place through Oct. 31.
“Exercise is not only important for prevention of breast cancer and recovery from treatment, but especially during this time. It’s so good for mental health,” Wattenmaker said.
With a minimum $25 entry price, participants can join or support high school and college students nationwide in getting fit by running, biking, swimming, or practicing with your school team. For more information and to sign up, go to breastcanceralliance.org/getfit
Also going through the end of the month is the BCA’s annual GoForPink event, in which retailers and restaurants donate a percentage of sales and/or items to the BCA’s silent auction.
For more on GoForPink, go to breastcanceralliance.org/shop-for-bca.
Wattenmaker said it means a lot that the town of Greenwich is showing up to offer support to the BCA, even during a global pandemic.
“Since BCA was founded in 1996, the town of Greenwich has supported our work and seen the impact that we can have on our neighbors and our friends,” Wattenmaker said. The BCA has awarded more than $29 million in grants to support its mission since 1996. “To have First Selectman Camillo be willing to come out to give a proclamation about the importance of our work, to still know there are partners in town who want to do what they can to continue to partner with us, and for all of our supporters who live here, we’re just so grateful for their faithfulness and continued commitment to the organization.”