Local Campaign to Educate African American Women on Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

Komen West Michigan’s I'm Alive campaign raises awareness and funds to provide local organizations helping underserved area populations with grants for preventive resources.

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Ashlie Lowe, breast cancer survivor

African American women are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage of breast cancer and to develop a form that spreads more quickly.

Grand Rapids, Michigan (PRWEB) December 10, 2013

Susan G. Komen West Michigan’s I’m Alive campaign kicks into high gear this month with a focus on African American health. It is estimated that over 40,000 women will be killed by breast cancer in the United States in 2013, with more than 1,300 of them residing in Michigan*. I’m Alive aims to motivate Michigan residents to take a stand against breast cancer through regular screening and self-awareness, providing a platform for survivors to share and encourage others along the way.

“African American women are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage of breast cancer and to develop a form that spreads more quickly,” said Shannon Wilson, Grand Rapids African American Health Institute executive director. “It is imperative that African American women educate themselves on the risk and reach out to organizations such as Komen West Michigan for information and assistance.”

“When I was diagnosed at the age of 24, my first thought was how and why in the world did this happen,” said African American breast cancer survivor Ashlie Lowe of Grand Rapids.

I’m Alive aims to motivate Michigan residents of to take the offensive against breast cancer by finding it early through regular screening and self-awareness of what is normal (and not normal) for them.

In April 2013, Komen West Michigan was awarded six grants totaling $235,000 to help local organizations provide breast cancer services and programs to underserved and uninsured populations in the area. According to womenshealth.gov, African American women statistically have limited access to health care or insurance, deterring them from seeking regular preventive care like mammograms. Komen West Michigan’s I’m Alive campaign is seeking donations, small and large, to assist in local efforts and activities.

“In 2013, we were able to fund only 6 of the 12 breast health organizations that requested our help. It’s clear that the need is great and that we have a lot more work to do,” explained Jennifer Jurgens, breast cancer survivor and Executive Director of Susan G. Komen West Michigan. “Alive West Michigan not only helps survivors through the sharing or their stories, but also gives us another platform to connect with people and ask for their support. Seventy-five percent of all proceeds stay in West Michigan to help local people, while the other 25 percent goes to fund national research programs.”

To hear stories of West Michigan survivors and the role Komen has played in making positive change or to donate, please visit: http://www.alivewestmichigan.org.

About Susan G. Komen West Michigan – Komen West Michigan is an independent, local non-profit organization that is dedicated to combating breast cancer. 75% of Komen West Michigan’s net income goes toward funding grants to local hospitals and community organizations that provide breast health education, screenings, diagnostics and genetics testing for underserved men and women in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Newaygo and Montcalm counties. The remaining 25% funds global, leading-edge research focused on the prevention of, and cures for, breast cancer.    

Komen West Michigan’s mission is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality of care for all, and energizing science to find the cures. For more information, call 616-752-8262 or visit http://www.komenwestmichigan.org. Connect with us on Facebook at facebook.com/KomenWestMich and Twitter @KomenWestMich.


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