One look around the crowded Pitser Garrison Civic Center Thursday left no doubt how powerful and important an event the Power of Pink has become as a public awareness tool for breast cancer.
"The annual luncheon began 15 years ago as the Jan Moore Memorial Lecture, when a handful of women gathered to learn all they could about breast cancer following the death of their beloved friend, Jan Moore who died of breast cancer. This group of women would meet in any vacant room they could find in the hospital or even in a hallway to discuss ways to stay healthy," said Yana Ogletree, Marketing and Public Relations Director.
The Power of Pink has developed into one of the largest public events for breast cancer awareness in East Texas. Dr. Sid Roberts, the medical director of the Arthur Temple Sr. Regional Cancer Center at Memorial Health System of East Texas and one of the founding members of Power of Pink praised those in attendance for their hard work and encouraged them to continue the fight against breast cancer. A graduate of Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Roberts is a board certified Radiation Oncologist. He also is board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Roberts was named a Fellow of the American College of Radiology at the young age of 45, a distinction that is given to only 10% of radiologists over their lifetime.
Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, about 40,460 women will die from the disease this year. The basic treatments for breast cancer are surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. Early detection and treatment are key.
"Today what started out as a small group of women has grown into a forum of more than 650 women and men wanting to know more about this deadly, but treatable disease, and to remember the brave woman Jan Moore, who today is responsible for educating thousands of women about the importance of self examinations and mammograms," said Ogletree.
A video entitled "Stand" featuring breast cancer survivors with words of encouragement and testimonials was played. The video was made to educate women on the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
The luncheon also featured nationally recognized humorist and motivational speaker Sally Baskey. Her speech weaved with humor made the audience smile, laugh and many think about a more positive approach to life. "Her presentations entertain, educate, and influence audiences all over the United States by showing how humor can help diffuse difficult situations within an organization as well as in life. Her book, "Laughter, My Drug of Choice", shares her philosophy of using a sense of humor to deal with change," said Dr. Roberts as he introduced Baskey to the audience.
Kathyrn Green with Harmony Hill Baptist Church gave the invocation. Lunch was prepared by Mar Teres Tea Room in Lufkin and the wait staff was students from Susie Erwin's culinary skills art class at Lufkin High School. Rosemary Sweatland provided music to lunch by.
Some Breast Cancer Statistics provided by Memorial Health System: