East Texas festival brings breast cancer awareness - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texas festival brings breast cancer awareness

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TATUM, TX (KLTV) -

A mission to get more East Texas women checked for breast cancer is the real reason behind a now favorite East Texas festival. Bringing a mobile mammogram unit to the small town of Tatum is where the idea for the pecan pie festival was born.

Games, pony rides , classic cars and a pie eating contest. What could be more Texan?

"We love it. its a great tourism draw for our city. It's been a joy to help with last year and to coordinate this year," says event coordinator Kryston Gibson.

But this event started with an unusual objective. Mammogram check-ups.

It was the brain child of Crystal Jenkins.

"Women don't get mammogram like they should and a lot of times its because they don't have time or think they don't have time. I wanted to get the breast cancer van to come to Tatum, and when I spoke with the lady that was in charged of that she said more women would come out if it was part of an event" Jenkins says.

She felt so strongly about it, she came up with an idea to get a large group of people together. Pecan pie.

"We just said why not do pecan pie," she says.

Jenkins force of will and determination was infectious, and the festival has really caught on.

"That first year we had like 3 or 4 thousand people come out to the festival. I'm thoroughly surprised . it just keeps growing," says Jenkins.

But for Jenkins, there is one real joy. "If we can prevent one case of breast cancer from going undetected, that’s my joy right there," she says.

Through the events fundraising efforts, organizers were able to donate more than 24-hundred dollars to the ETMC mobile mammogram unit to pay for exams.

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