Every October, the church supports worldwide breast cancer awareness and research for a cure, said Patricia Flanders, Sabbath School superintendent at the Cole Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“We wanted to join this effort as a church to bring awareness and prevention of breast cancer and give a message to women as well as men so they understand that they must take care of themselves as part of preventing the disease,” said Flanders.
A panel of medical professionals from the church spoke to those gathered amid the blending shades of pink, the color signifying breast cancer awareness, decorating the inside of the church.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer affects 2.1 million women every year and is the cause of the highest number of cancer-related deaths among women.
The startling statistics shared during the forum reminded the more than 150 attendees that one woman out of eight has been diagnosed with breast cancer. “It is estimated that 42,690 will die of the disease just this year,” said Flanders.
Presenters and panelists urged attendees to take charge of their health and reminded everyone that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Two guests from the community shared their personal experience with breast cancer.
“There are many in the church who suffer from the disease as well as members who are still afraid of coming out and disclosing their suffering,” said Flanders.
The importance of breast cancer awareness in Sint Maarten cannot be underestimated, said Flanders. Churches on the island usually partner with groups such as Positive Foundation, Pink Sunset Sail by Aqua Mania Adventures, and TellEM to hold breast cancer awareness campaigns by wearing pink ribbons and organizing events to bring home the preventive message.