For the entire month of May, Washington, D.C. is going pink!
The D.C. Cancer Consortium (DCCC) has launched “D.C. Goes Pink,” a month-long campaign dedicated to increasing cancer awareness and promoting regular cancer screenings. Partnered with the D.C. Department of Health (DOH), the United Medical Center, and George Washington University, the D.C. Cancer Consortium’s mission is to reduce the number of cancer-related mortalities in the Washington, D.C. area, officials said.
“D.C. leads the country in breast cancer deaths, prostate deaths and colon cancer deaths” said Michele Coleman, manager of corporate development with the D.C. Cancer Consortium. “There are significant disparities in cancer death rates in the District of Columbia.”
According to DCCC statistics, more than 2,740 D.C. residents were diagnosed with cancer in 2008; 1,135 died. Minorities contract cancer disproportionately. In the District, cancer death rates are highest in wards 5, 7 and 8, all predominately African American communities.
According the DCCC, the high cancer rates are due to the lack of affordable health care. Without health care, patients in need of services are without a primary care provider who knows the patients’ medical history and is a reliable source for medical care, officials said.
The “DC Goes Pink,” campaign kicked off May 9 with a reception at the Prince Hall Center for the Performing Arts. Television personality and D.C. Pink Honorary Chairperson JC Hayward, a breast cancer survivor, made comments. Several local legislators discussed their own experiences with cancer. Mayor Vincent C. Gray read a proclamation declaring May Pink Month and talked about losing his wife, Loretta, to breast cancer in 1998. Ward 3 D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh, a survivor of breast cancer, shared her story, as did United Medical Center’s Natalie Williams, who was diagnosed with cancer just two months after she presented the campaign to the D.C. Council.
D.C. Goes Pink will raise funds for services to assist cancer patients. The event will also promote DOH’s new city-wide “Mammogram Reminder System.”
Targeted at uninsured and under insured women, the system will remind women of their upcoming screening appointments a month in advance. DCCC will work with volunteers to do community outreach and sign women up for mammogram testing.
To further increase awareness, D.C. Goes Pink will adorn street lampposts along the 1200 block of U Street, NW, and the 3900 block of Minnesota Ave., NE with pink ribbons. Store fronts will sport signs announcing, “We Support D.C. Goes Pink!”
DCCC has also initiated a photo campaign to raise awareness. D.C. Goes Pink is asking local residents to photograph themselves holding up signs naming the person who inspired them to participate. The photo campaign has already generated a huge response as people from all over the DMV have posted their pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Coleman said.
To share your stories and post your pictures, visit the D.C. Cancer Consortium on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dccancer. To share your thoughts on Twitter, use Twitter handle @DCCancer. For Instagram posts, visit #DCGoesPink.
For volunteer opportunities with DOH’s Mammogram Reminder System, email Michelle Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.dccanceranswers.org to donate today.