The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Blaine County Participates in Breast Cancer Awareness Month


October 21, 2020

Breast Cancer Awareness Month falls in October in countries across the world. Such a designation helps to increase attention and support for the early detection and treatment of this disease. Although disease knows no holiday and efforts to combat disease are always important, October is when people across the globe really show their support for people affected by breast cancer.

In the United Kingdom (UK), Wear It Pink Day is one of the biggest breast cancer awareness fundraising events. Taking place on October 23, thousands of people wear pink in their communities, schools, or work places to stand in solidarity with those afflicted by breast cancer and to raise money for the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, Breast Cancer Now.

A little closer to home, American Garage has joined a campaign called Brakes for Breasts. According to co-owner Heather DePriest, their business is a TechNet Shop. TechNet Professional Automotive Service Centers are a group of locally-owned and professionally operated shops with the benefits of a nationwide network. According to DePriest, TechNet was established to provide independently owned service centers the technical solutions, ongoing training, marketing tools, and business resources needed to advance their service centers, allowing them to service more motorists and grow their brand in their own communities.

Brakes for Breasts is an organization that unites the hands of independent auto repair shops during the month of October. As an industry, TechNet stands united “to put the Brakes on Breast Cancer!” Because TechNet supports the Brake for Breasts campaign and because the American Garage family considers the cause an important one, they decided to join their fundraising efforts.

“The way the program works, you pay full price for a brake service and then send in the paperwork attached to your invoice to receive up to $40.00 off on the job. The rebate comes as a TechNet Professional Prepaid Mastercard or you can choose to donate that money to breast cancer research,” DePriest explained.

DePriest went on to say that the money goes to the Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Research Fund. If a customer’s service during the month of October does not qualify for a rebate or a person wishes to donate more, Brakes for Breasts is accepting donations via text message. To participate in this way, a person has simply to text B4B to 76278 and select a donation amount.

The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2020 there will be over 276,000 people diagnosed with Breast Cancer and over 42,000 will die. With those numbers, it’s hard to find somebody who hasn’t been touched by Breast Cancer. Many of the readers of the Journal~News~Opinion have either lost a loved one to cancer or are perhaps the one fighting or the one helping a loved one fight.

At its heart, Brakes for Breasts is about hope for prevention. It supports Dr. Vincent Tuohy’s research efforts to develop a Breast Cancer Vaccine and his philosophy of prevention.

Although American Garage hasn’t seen an uptick in brake service requests because of their participation in Brakes for Breasts, DePriest said, “This campaign is still new to our area, so it will take time to get the information out there. Our tire special is certainly getting more attention, but like I said, Brakes for Breasts is new here, even though the campaign is celebrating its tenth anniversary.”

Shores Floral, another merchant in Chinook, is offering a free pink carnation to anyone making a purchase this week. “We also have a selection of pink flowers and can make up a bouquet for anyone who is interested,” owner Bonnie Weber said.

On Tuesday, October 20, Sweet Medical Center also hosted the St. Vincent Healthcare Mobile Mammography Coach or mammocoach. With the goal to reach underserved areas, the coach travels within a 300-mile radius of Billings and makes stops across Montana several days a week. The mobile outreach service is focused on awareness, detection, and survival.

According to healthcare officials, what makes the mammocoach unique is the 3-D imaging technology used to scan patients. This technology detects invasive cancers 40% more frequently than a traditional 2-D mammogram and also reduces the likelihood of false positives. Since its launch, the mammocoach has provided services to over 27,000 thousand women who may not otherwise have had the opportunity for this life-saving screening.

Because the response for appointments on October 20 exceeded their capacity, mammocoach personnel booked an additional date in Chinook, October 29. However, that date filled just as quickly, and by October 15, no appointment slots were open. With the technology on board—the same imaging equipment as that used at St. Vincent’s on-campus site—a mammogram takes just fifteen minutes, making the service both quick and convenient. The confidential results are mailed directly to the patient and to the patient’s healthcare provider.

The coach’s slogan, “Get on Board” encourages individuals to forego excuses and get screened to ensure breast health.

In other parts of the county, the Harlem Civic Association (HCA), which typically holds a Luminaria Ceremony in October, has pushed that event into November. An HCA spokesperson reported that COVID restrictions may even see the event go online.

The HCA Luminaria Ceremony is a ceremony of remembrance and hope. It honors survivors as well as those who have lost the battle to cancer or to mental health-related issues. Luminaries are decorated bags which bear the names of individuals who have fought or are currently enduring the effects of cancer or battling mental health. Because the light inside each luminaria represents a life yearning for a cancer-free and depression-free world, luminarias are symbols of hope.

The proceeds from the HCA’s Luminaria Ceremony are designated for Gift of Life Housing. A “home away from home,” Gift of Life Housing provides free lodging and support services to patients and families who may be experiencing the greatest crisis of their lives.


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