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Breast cancer awareness ceremony Oct. 16

STEUBENVILLE — In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Women in Action Against Cancer Coalition of Jefferson County will welcome the public to its 23rd-annual breast cancer awareness wreath ceremony on Oct. 16 at the Prime Time Center, located at 300 Lovers Lane.

The celebration and remembrance of those whose lives have been touched by breast cancer will begin at 12:30 p.m., but lunch is available at the Prime Time Senior Center at noon for a $1 donation. Reservations for lunch are required by Friday by calling Prime Time at (740) 314-5197.

The survivor’s story will be shared by Sharon Miles of Wintersville.

Sponsored by WIAACC in partnership with the Prime Time Senior Center, the observance will begin with a prayer offered by Joyce Summers, the singing of the national anthem by Tom Graham and welcoming remarks by Janet Sharpe, coalition co-chair.

As a Jefferson County commissioner, Graham will present a proclamation in honor of Ohio Mammography Day, followed by a resolution from Steubenville City Council representatives Willie Paul, Eric Timmons and Robert Villamagna.

Insight on breast cancer statistics in Jefferson County and new breast cancer treatments will be offered by Dr. Aaron Provenzano of the Tony Teramana Cancer Center.

Cindy Misogiane, a coalition member, will provide an overview of the coalition, which was founded in July 1994. It is a community-based, nonprofit organization that started as a result of the high incidence and mortality rates of certain cancers in the Jefferson County area.

The ceremony also will include the introduction of survivors by Leslie Aftanas, coalition co-chair, and a presentation of a special gift in addition to inspirational cards made by Pugliese Elementary School pupils involved in its Acts of Kindness project.

Closing remarks and a musical selection will be conducted by Sharpe and Graham, respectively.

The coalition focuses on increasing awareness, providing education and promoting early detection and prevention of cancer in Jefferson County with its mission being to encourage and motivate individuals to take charge of their health.

Its grassroots efforts, according to Sharpe, help residents become more aware of when and where to seek early detection for cancer, how to proceed when cancer is diagnosed, how to navigate through an increasingly complex health care system and where to turn for community resources and support for survivors.

“Key to the process of WIAACC is the talent and commitment of our members,” noted Sharpe.

The coalition helps women who need financial assistance to get breast and cervical screenings, with services provided at the Women’s Health Center and Trinity. Funding for that is generated through the coalition’s Bikers Against Breast Cancer poker run; a bake, book and soup sale in partnership with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Steubenville; and donations from businesses, including Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort, Steel Valley Credit Union, Softite Credit Union and Reisbeck’s brown bag lunch program. The coalition assembles and provides gift bags for new clients at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center in addition to financial assistance for prostate screenings during Minority Health Month.

“One of our long-standing and cherished events is our breast cancer wreath ceremony honoring survivors and remembering those who lost the fight,” Sharpe noted. “Each year we provide the program on the third Wednesday in October.”

The coalition welcomes volunteers to come on board. “Our numbers include breast cancer survivors as well as well as those who have been fortunate not to have battled this terrible disease but admire the spirit of those who have,” Sharpe said.

For information on the coalition or its services, contact Sharpe at (740) 632-1144.

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