Women are often health care warriors. They advocate, schedule and attend medical appointments for their children, their husband or partner, and their aging parents. They research, ask around and stop at nothing to find the best wellness and treatment options for their loved ones. But sometimes, they forget to do it for themselves.
Those who live in the area have undoubtedly seen pink bows, pink banners, pink cars and pink storefront windows these past few weeks. While the pink landscape is beautiful, it is also purposeful. For the past seven years, Paint the Town Pink has peppered the area in pink to remind women to put themselves on their own “to do” list and to get their annual mammogram.
Paint the Town Pink was created in 2007 because, even with all the attention on breast cancer awareness, statistics from the American Cancer Society at that time showed that only 60.2 percent of women, age 40 and older, were getting their annual mammogram in the state of New Jersey. The same study showed that only 35.7 percent of uninsured women were getting their annual mammogram.
So, why would nearly 40 percent of women in New Jersey put off getting their mammogram? Some might say they simply forgot and that they were too busy with work and family to think about themselves. Some might say it is too painful or they don’t want to know if something is wrong. And, for the uninsured or underinsured women, the barrier is even greater.
That research set the tone for Paint the Town Pink’s mission, which is to encourage women, age 40 and older, to get their annual mammogram and to raise funds to provide mammograms for uninsured or underinsured women in the community.
In the words of Fair Haven Paint the Town Pink chairperson Mary Lenskold, “You are important. People love you. People need you. It is your responsibility to get your annual mammogram.”
As a nine-year breast cancer survivor, Lenskold adds, “I think so many women avoid getting their mammogram because they don’t want to be told they have breast cancer, but I was told that and it was not the worst thing. For me it was a blessing because it was caught early and I could take care of it.”
The old adage “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” is at the core of Paint the Town Pink’s effort. The event aims to make a serious message fun and engaging through the participation of hundreds of local businesses and by hosting unique events. This year organizers have even added a special Meridian Mammography Day on June 1. The day is designed to deliver a “pinktastic” mammography experience, complete with pampering, light refreshments, music and other goodies.
Women can call 855-PINK411 to register for Meridian Mammography Day at the Meridian Women’s Center of their choice, or visit Paintthe TownPink.com to learn more about this event and other pink activities in the area.
No matter where and when you choose to have your mammogram – just make sure you go!
The Two River Times™ is a 2013 sponsor of Paint the Town Pink, a breast cancer awareness initiative sponsored by Meridian Health System. Additional information about Paint the Town Pink can be found at www.PainttheTownPink.com.