Making a tangible difference
The rally call to support the Progressive Labour Party Women’s Caucus Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser Breakfast Forum surpassed all expectations. The event turned out to be a resounding success, drawing a remarkable response from the community.
The forum centred on the critical issue of breast cancer education, emphasising its significance for both women and men.
Given the gravity of the topic, it necessitates ongoing and repeated communication to raise awareness and foster understanding.
Held on a bright Saturday morning in October at the West Pembroke Primary School auditorium, the forum began with a sense of anticipation. As attendees poured in, they were greeted with a delightful continental breakfast, setting a warm and welcoming tone. The event attracted a diverse crowd, with well over 100 present, including a few men, who demonstrated their unwavering support for the cause.
Taking the stage as the moderator, Elaine Butterfield addressed the audience, expressing her gratitude for their presence and their collective commitment to combating breast cancer.
She underscored the significance of their participation, emphasising that by coming together, they were actively taking a stand against the disease. Mrs Butterfield asserted that through the collaborative efforts of those affected by breast cancer and those tirelessly working to eradicate it, advancements could be made in early diagnosis, the development of new treatments, and the prevention of all types of cancers. She urged the audience to envision a world where breast cancer held no power over their lives, inspiring them to join the fight.
With the stage set, the focus shifted to an engaging and enlightening presentation titled “Know Your Lemons”. Guided by Azuree Williams, the event and programme manager for the TB Cancer & Health Centre, the audience delved into the realm of early detection and its critical role in combating breast cancer.
Mrs Williams, a certified “lemonista”, captivated the audience as she unveiled a thought-provoking campaign that employed lemons as a clever metaphor for breast self-examination and education. Through a captivating film, the audience was guided through the signs to look for, empowering them to be proactive in their own health. The presentation aimed to dispel the fear often associated with discovering and recognising potential symptoms, emphasising the importance of early intervention and the impact it can have on saving lives.
Carika Weldon, founder, chief executive and director of research at CariGenetics, was introduced during a round of applause for her great contribution to Bermuda during the pandemic and for her work at present.
Dr Weldon is working on a groundbreaking study called “Get in the Ring”. The study will establish if some Caribbean women may be more predisposed to breast cancer and aims to identify markers in DNA that may trigger the onset of the disease.
She shared that the existing data reflects information from Europeans only and that there was no data available from Caribbean women. She added that, “the study is set to revolutionise our understanding of breast cancer in women of Caribbean ancestry”.
Women in the audience were also told that in this instance, Bermuda is included as part of the Caribbean and that in future, there may be opportunity for women without insurance to join the study by way of a partnership between CariGenetics and the Bermuda Cricket Board to raise funding. T-shirts were on sale as part of this initiative.
The breakfast forum proved to be a truly transformative event, leaving a lasting impression on all who attended. It not only provided valuable education and information regarding breast cancer but also fostered a sense of unity and purpose within the community.
With the knowledge gained and the collective determination ignited, the attendees left the forum equipped to make a tangible difference in the fight against breast cancer.
• Dawn Simmons is the chairwoman of the Progressive Labour Party