...and we're staying pink.
We’ve spent the month of October introducing you to an organization in Kansas City that has helped thousands of people across the local area who are fighting cancer. You’ve virtually met the woman and brains behind it all, Sharon Payne, and several other women who help keep this organization going. It has been a joy and an honor learning about Bra Couture Kansas City and even more exciting - getting to donate to them to help with their many ventures. 100% of the registration fees new Event Members have paid for the month of October have gone to Bra Couture Kansas City, and we look forward to volunteering with them in May at the actual Bra Couture fashion show and Art Walk.
October has been National Breast Cancer Awareness Month since 1984, and the pink ribbon has been the national symbol for Breast Cancer since 1991, thanks to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, but wasn’t made popular until 1992, with credit going to Alexandra Penney, the editor-in-chief of Self. She enlisted Estee Lauder to help spread the pink ribbon, and they did so by displaying it on cosmetic counters all over the country and giving out over 1.5 million pink ribbons that fall. They also sent over 200,000 petitions to the White House to encourage more funding to go towards cancer research. Since that time, the pink ribbon has notoriously symbolized breast cancer, and companies all over the country use it to help fundraise for breast cancer research.
While Bra Couture Kansas City doesn’t raise funds directly for breast cancer research, they are working to impact people in Kansas City who have a cancer diagnosis right here right now. Breast cancer research is incredibly important and we all hope and pray for a cure in the near future, however, it is just as important to love and support the people who have cancer before a cure is found, and BCKC is working hard to do just that, while simultaneously helping raise awareness on the importance of mammograms and self-checks.
It would be silly for us to spend this entire month raising money for an organization that helps with early detection of breast cancer without reminding you just how important it is to stay on top of your personal health. Many factors can help increase the risk of cancer, some can’t be changed, like age, gender, genetics, race and ethnicity, starting menstruation before age 12 or going through menopause after age 55. But, a lot of risk factors can be changed, as they are lifestyle related, like being overweight or obese, drinking alcohol and smoking, not being physically active, not having children, not breastfeeding, or certain types of birth control. Many women are known to have absolutely no known risk factors and still have breast cancer, or, like we read with Sharon Snowden-Hake’s story, women can be physically active, perfectly healthy, have no immediate family with breast cancer, and be young, but still find out they have breast cancer. It is estimated that one in eight women will learn they have breast cancer at some point in their life. Given these statistics, I can venture to guess that every single one of us has somehow been impacted by breast cancer, and everyone you know has known someone with breast cancer.
Fortunately, due to a widespread use of screening mammograms, and organizations like BCKC, that help women receive screenings who otherwise might not have access to it, breast cancer is being found before it can cause any symptoms. According to Sharon Payne, around 40% of insured women, still don’t receive annual mammograms, so knowing the symptoms of breast cancer, and performing self-checks are crucial for early detection.
Symptoms for breast cancer, as you may assume, include any new lumps or masses found in the breast or around the breast. They can be painless or cause pain and come in many shapes and sizes, so any lump found needs to be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Cancer.org tells us other symptoms that can include, “swelling of part or all of the breast, skin irritation or dimpling, breast or nipple pain, nipple retraction, redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin, a nipple discharge other than breast milk.” While these symptoms don’t always mean breast cancer, it is always best to be seen by your doctor if any of these occur.
I loved learning that Bra Couture Kansas City helps women receive their mammogram screenings by throwing screening parties. Party busses pick up women and take them to get screened, and if anything is found in any of their mammograms, BCKC helps that woman begin her treatment process by helping her find the resources she needs. They are purposeful in not “screening and dropping”, they want to ensure every woman has a fair fight.
There are 14 counties that make up the Kansas City metropolitan area. One of those counties, Wyandotte, has one of the highest rates of breast cancer diagnoses in the entire country. With many women not having access to even get to their screenings, Bra Couture KC decided to step in and help. Most of their screening parties take place out of Wyandotte county.
Below, are links that will guide you on how to perform self-breast checks, give you more information on breast cancer and links to websites that helped me learn some of the information I shared with you. For instance, it is estimated around 2,600 men will be diagnosis with breast cancer this year alone and around 6% will lose their lives from this nasty disease. Another fact about breast cancer, is that there are over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors alive in the United States today! Below is also a link to Bra Couture Kansas City’s website, where you can donate to this amazing organization if you feel so led.
Breast cancer is a horrible disease, one that I know, we all want to see abolished. We will continue to partner with Bra Couture Kansas City to help cancer patients (who suffer from all forms of cancer) in the Kansas City area. Our partnership with Bra Couture Kansas City will not end when this month ends and we are excited to see what wonderful things come out of the 2017 year with BCKC.
At Ziyak, we are excited to help connect people to cities all over the country. From finding the best places to eat, to exploring the best events in town, for the old in spirit and young at heart, Ziyak is for everyone.
Kendra is an Executive Assistant at Ziyak. She loves to share her humor and share her passions with anyone who will take the time to read what she writes.