By Janice K. Neal-Vincent
The Hinds County Chancery Clerk’s Office, under the leadership of Chancery Clerk Eddie Jean Carr, observed Breast Cancer Awareness Month in honor of breast cancer survivors on Oct. 19.
The brief program held on the patio between the Circuit Court building and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department on Pascagoula Street in Jackson spawned a huge crowd from the community and work place. Supporters solidified their strength in remembrance of those who have transitioned from Earth and those who are breast cancer survivors.
District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham, Hinds County Sheriff Victor Mason and Judge Denise Owens asserted that the fight against breast cancer is personal because it is a daily struggle and fight. They concurred there is a community that identifies with them and offers encouragement that they need not battle the struggle and fight alone.
Carr, a three year, three month and six day breast cancer survivor said, “I’ve not had to undergo chemotherapy. I want to encourage people to get checked out. One year I was fine. The following year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had three sisters who were diagnosed in their 30s.” Pamela Young, Brenda Butler and Daisy Taylor were recognized as breast cancer survivors. They maintained a breast cancer diagnosis is no longer equivalent to a death sentence. The death sentence, however, occurs when the cancer goes undiagnosed. Thus, they appealed to the crowd to do self-examinations and to undergo medical screenings. At the end of the ceremony the supportive crowd continued to demonstrate solidarity against breast cancer as they released pink balloons into the air.
Attendees were randomly interviewed after the ceremony. Quanda Young indicated she was present because of her sister Pamela. “I admire her strength and her courage and that she will continue to fight,” Young said. Sergeant Kenny Bryant of Community Services Division and a law enforcement representative for 15 years stated he was with Sheriff Mason. “I think breast cancer affects everybody. My aunt is a survivor of breast cancer. My mother had cervical cancer and I know what these people go through. Finding cures for these diseases is needed because they take love ones away from friends and family.” As breast cancer survivor supporters partook of a hearty meal in the Circuit Court building, Carr escaped to her office and shared quiet moments with her family. “My battle with breast cancer began with my mother over 50 years ago,” she said. “I have five sisters and four of my sisters have breast cancer. In my immediate family my baby sister was the first one with breast cancer. My husband was my caregiver. He and my son supported me. Every surgery I had my family was there. This is our fourth occasion. It’s bigger because everybody knows I’m a survivor, and we always try to find three employees who are people from various stages who are survivors.”
Carr’s son Christopher, interjected, “The biggest thing is breast cancer affects the entire family. We are proud of our mother’s courage for stepping out.” Carr’s elderly sister, Rosetta Lymon, said, “Our mother was still alive when our first sister came down with cancer. But our mother passed when she had her second ordeal. We are a strong family. I haven’t been officially diagnosed with breast cancer, but I’ve had colon cancer and ovarian cancer. We are all supportive of each other. We told our baby sister that we would not let her die alone.”
Although October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, breast cancer does not confine itself to a 31-day period. It is a relentless, daily reality for millions of women and their families.
Visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation website at www.nationalbreastcancer.org for more information.