In the 'Pink': Busy month planned for Breast Cancer Awareness

CONYERS -- Fall's newest color is pink, and readers of the Citizen are "reading pink" today in recognition of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The annual awareness campaign brings local businesses, volunteers, charitable organizations and others together each October to raise funds for cancer research and encourage preventive measures like breast self-exams and regular mammograms.

Locally, several organizations have planned events in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and breast cancer survivors.

At Rockdale Medical Center, portraits of 12 women who have survived breast cancer hang on the wall near the Women's Diagnostic Center. The display, called the Wall of Hope, is sponsored by the Kim Atkins Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the promotion of early detection of breast cancer and education on prevention, treatment options and recovery.

Organizers of the Wall of Hope have asked the community to nominate 12 more breast cancer survivors, and their portraits will be included in the display at the end of the month.

The Kim Atkins Foundation is also sponsoring a fundraiser this month, a combination chili cooking contest and poker ride called the Booby Poker Ride and Chili Cookoff.

The event is scheduled for Oct. 27. The chili cookoff, which is open to anyone at no charge, will be held at The Pointe in Olde Town starting at 10:30 a.m. The 10-mile poker ride will start at 9:30 a.m. at Stone Mountain Harley-Davidson and finish at The Pointe. The cost to ride is $25. To register for either event, go to the foundation website at ride.kimatkins.net.

Those who don't want to cook or ride can simply attend the event and enjoy the chili for a $5 donation.

All proceeds from the event will benefit breast cancer-related activities in the local area.

In Newton County Breast Cancer Awareness Month is being observed all month long.

Newton Medical Center kicked off the month with its sixth annual Portraits of Hope display. It includes portraits of 58 breast cancer survivors which are placed in businesses around the downtown Square. The portraits remain on display throughout the month of October.

A very special fashion show will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Covington's First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. Tickets are sold out.

It will feature eight breast cancer survivors who will model fashions from the Cinderella Shop and the NMC gift shop, as well as a performance by Andy Offit Irwin. It is sponsored by the Newton Medical Center Auxiliary, the Women's Diagnostic Center and the Breast Cancer Support Group which meets at the hospital.

The NMC Auxiliary is also sponsoring a golf tournament planned for Oct. 19 at The Oaks. Registration is currently open. For more information, call 770-788-6553 or go online at newtonmedical.com.

The month-long tribute will wind up with a concert on the Square on Sunday, Oct, 28, featuring Mac McKibben and Drive Time. Concert-goers should gather around 3 p.m. in Square Park, armed with blankets or lawn chairs. Restaurants will have food available for sale. The concert will begin at 4 p.m.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the fifth leading cause of death for women over age 40 in the U.S. Heart disease is number one, followed by stroke, lung cancer and lung diseases.

Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt, according to the CDC. Breast cancer is more treatable when diagnosed early.

To help prevent breast cancer, the CDC advises women to:

-- Exercise and control your weight;

-- Know your family history. If you have a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer, ask your doctor how you can reduce your risk;

-- Find out the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy; and

-- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.