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Morehouse's Breast Cancer Walk Surpasses Goal

By Shaneesa N. Ashford

Two miles to combat three minutes.

Every three minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, a disease that was expected to affect more than 200,000 women in 2006 alone. In an effort to combat the disease, more than 150 members of the Morehouse College family participated in the College’s two-mile breast cancer walk on September 23. It was the largest crowd to participate in the walk since its inception.

This year, however, allowed for another milestone: the College surpassed its $100,000 goal in total donations to the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.” This year, the College raised $21,000, bringing its seven-year contribution total to $108,600.

In 2005, ACS honored Morehouse with the Corporate Leadership Award.

Sandra Walker, a 13-year employee of Morehouse and a seven-year breast cancer survivor, founded the walk seven years ago after her diagnosis and subsequent chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She co-founded the walk with Mary Peaks, a nine-year survivor and administrative assistant in the Counseling Center, and Chandra Price, a former Campus Operations employee who died from the disease three years ago.

Walker said the College’s ability to surpass its $100,000 goal speaks volumes about the support from President Walter Massey and Shirley Massey, the board of trustees, the faculty and staff, and the students, many of whom actually beat her to the walk site this year.

“It means that no matter if you are male or female, you are concerned about the health and wellbeing of people,” Walker said. “It shows the caring of the Morehouse family as a whole.”

Jovita Moore, news anchor and reporter for WSB-TV, Channel 2 Action News, served as the special guest for the walk. Several student organizations, including the Glee Club, Navy ROTC and the SGA, were represented.

On the Tuesday following the walk, WSB-TV anchor Monica Kaufman Pearson served as the guest speaker for the annual breast cancer awareness luncheon, sponsored by the Morehouse Womens’ Auxiliary and the Counseling Center. A nine-year survivor, Pearson spoke of the importance of self exams for men and women.

“Prevention is more important than a cure,” Pearson said. “Learn to take responsibility for your own health, and don’t be afraid to question authority.”

According to ACS, more than 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected nationally this year, with more than 40,000 patients dying from the disease. More than 1,500 men also were expected to be diagnosed. However, the breast cancer death rate has declined two percent annually from 1990 to 2002, a decline attributed to screenings, awareness and improved treatments.

Walker said that now that the College has reached its goal, the walk will continue to bring renewed awareness to the disease and raise more money for a cure.

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