By Noor H. Salem, TMO
At 10am on June 1st over 300 people joined at the Bint Jebail Cultural Center in Dearborn for the first annual celebrating life banquet. ACCESS and the Susan G. Komen race for the cure team came together to put forth a wonderful event. The event was schedule to begin at 10am but by the time people gathered and purchased their raffle tickets it was a quarter to 11. There were three tables lined up with pink flowers and prizes to be raffled. In front of each prize was a small bag to place your tickets. Volunteers walked around and sold tickets and attendees were able to choose what prize they hoped to claim.
The Mistress of Ceremony Rana Abbas who is also a Senior Partner welcomed everyone to the event and shared her own scare with breast cancer a year ago. Hiam Hamade in charge of the ACCESS Chronic Diseases Prevention Program reminded us how they save about 1,500 lives every year with the prevention program. She gave statistics of breast cancer, including how it will claim the lives of 40,000 this year. â€œWe want all women, regardless of race, age , or circumstances to beat the battle against breast cancerâ€ she said.
Up next came Maureen Meldrum, the executive director of Susan G. Komen for the cure in the metro Detroit area. She told us her story of survival 12 years ago and how she now wakes up and realizes what a privilege it is to survive. She does claim that today is different though, because itâ€™s surrounded y friends and family. She mentioned the race for the cure that took place about a month ago, May 18th, at Comerica Park and how traditional and amazing it was. She tells us how helpful it was to partner with ACCESS because of how overwhelming it has been for many women who are diagnosed to move on. About 230 thousand in the country will be diagnosed and 40,000 will die this year, she said. Every 74 seconds a life is taken because of breast cancer, but at the brighter side there have been many advances in the last 22 years. She reminds us how early detection and high quality care can greatly make a difference in the chance of surviving. She again mentioned the race on May 18th and how survivors, families, friends and others came together and made a difference. She askes us to all do fourth things. One, know your own risk by talking to your family about history of breast cancer in the tree. Secondly, get screened because it can save you. Third, know whatâ€™s normal for you and if you see something abnormal go to your doctor immediately. Fourth, make healthy lifestyle changes. She then says she lied and wants to ask us to do more things. So fifth, come to the race next year and lastly, share what you know about breast cancer because your knowledge can save someone else.
There was then a very beautiful and memorable presentation of the May 18th race for the cure.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Virinder K. Moudgil a Professor at Lawrence Tech University who researched in India as well as the U.S. came up. He talked a lot about hormones and the impact of breast cancer. He said that estrogen has a big link to hormones and tumors and gives us statistics as well. 2 years ago 571,950 died of cancer and every minute a life is taken. There has been a downfall of 12.4% in women and 21% in men. He pointed out how cancer is age dependent and having children at a younger age can decrease your risk.
Of the risk factors he claimed only 5-10% of all breast cancer patients are inherited. The other 90% is lifestyle. Smoking, what you eat and other factors play a vital role. Getting your period at an early age and menopause at a late age can increase your estrogen and therefore increasing your risk of breast cancer. He did bring up prevention programs and a test that is available but costs $3,000.
Breakfast was served at this time as the presentation on the screens went on.
The program had two survivors scheduled to be recognized but Ghada Aziz was not able to make it since her son had brain surgery three days ago after finding a tumor. Ziena Makkie was present and went forth to be recognized.
Final remarks were given by Rana Abbas as well as entertainment by Amer Zahr. Lastly, the raffles were done and the banquet ended at a quarter to 1pm.