From walks to gala fundraisers, there are many ways to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. Two of the more unique ways that Cobb has to offer this year are put on by the Foundation of Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna: a ladies’ tea on Oct. 25 called A Celebration with Courage at the Gardens of Kennesaw Mountain and the Bodies of Courage exhibit at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art. Both events support the Foundation’s efforts to raise money for new patient beds.
Linda McDonald, a three-time cancer survivor, author and teacher, will give a presentation at the tea. McDonald has conducted workshops and clinics for organizations such as the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, National Endowment for the Arts and has served as a U.S. delegate to the World Health Organization Congress on Aging, Physical Activity and Sports. She is also the author of the children’s book “Dancing Cancer.”
On the evening of Oct. 25, there will be a reception to celebrate the Bodies of Courage opening. The exhibit of works by artist and photographer Lisa Scholder, which has been on display in Tampa since January, features breast cancer survivors as the canvas. Her brightly colored paintings highlight the beauty of each woman’s body. The project has helped build bridges between different support organizations across the country. Peggie Sherry, founder and CEO of Faces of Courage, a nonprofit organization in Florida that provides free outings and overnight camps for women, children and families touched by cancer and blood disorders, worked with Scholder to find models for the project. “Bodies of Courage is an ‘arts in medicine’ project that we hosted with our women’s program,” she explains. “The Foundation of Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna heard about the art exhibit and felt that sharing it with their community, especially during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, would bring attention to women’s health and wellness while raising awareness of the hospital and their programs,” Sherry says.
In addition to helping Scholder find models, Sherry eventually became one herself. “Since all of the models are my campers, I would never ask anyone to do something I was not willing to do myself—especially as intimate and revealing as this art project was,” she explains. As a two-time breast cancer survivor, Sherry also works as a motivational speaker to share her story with those who have been recently diagnosed.
In bringing what she describes as “a camp art project that got out of control” to Georgia, Sherry hopes that the powerful stories of those cancer survivors willing to bare their souls and their scars will inspire others to live life to the fullest. “As people view the images it allows for conversation about breast cancer; the importance of self-exam; the need for annual check-ups; our responsibility in maintaining our health and being proactive in preventing the disease,” she explains. “The models’ stories remind us how quickly life can change and how three words, ‘You have cancer,’ can turn your world upside down, never to be completely righted again.” These two events, combined with many others around the county, bring together survivors and supporters in an effort to end breast cancer forever.
Breast Cancer By the Numbers
6,000: The number of women per year who are diagnosed with breast
cancer in Georgia.
24.83 per 100,000 people: The breast cancer mortality rate in Cobb County.
34.1%: Women in Cobb County who have not received a mammogram in the past year.
In the 10-county area served by Susan G. Komen for the Cure Greater Atlanta, Cobb ranks fifth for percentage of late stage diagnosis and has the fourth highest mortality rate.
(Information courtesy of Cobb & Douglas Public Health and Susan G. Komen for the Cure Greater Atlanta.)
Here are just a few of the ways Cobb is commemorating Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
Paint the Town PINK Gala, Renaissance Waverly Hotel
10/27, 6:30 p.m.
This gala is sponsored by the Mary L. & Walter Johnson III Foundation, Inc.
For tickets, visit paintthetownpinkgala.eventbrite.com