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'What matters is to help people'

Women push on, raise $4,000 against cancer

Women push on, raise $4,000 against cancer

October 03, 2004|by TRISH RUDDER/Staff Writer

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.VA. - A Walk for Women against breast cancer raised more than $4,000 Saturday, according to the event organizer.

The fund-raiser, held on the track at Widmyer Elementary School, was the first Walk for Women in Morgan County and the Eastern Panhandle, event organizer Selma Straus said. The walks are being held throughout the state this month.

Susan Webster, mayor of the Town of Bath and a breast cancer survivor, spoke to the crowd before the walk began.

"It was the hardest day in my life when I was diagnosed with breast cancer," Webster said. The mayor then removed her auburn wig to show off her head, which is bald because of chemotherapy treatments.

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"What can I do to bring attention to this event? Make an additional donation of one dollar to rub the mayor's head for good luck," Webster said. "It doesn't matter what you look like or what kind of car you drive. What matters is to help people, especially by participating in a good cause like this."

Webster had a malignant tumor removed from her left breast in April through a lumpectomy. She then found a lump in her right breast in early May, and a second lumpectomy was performed. She completed chemotherapy and now is receiving radiation treatments.

"The mammogram didn't show any sign of the first lump, but the doctor felt it," Webster said. "I found the second lump by self-examination."

Raymond Blake of Berkeley Springs came to walk for his wife, Audrey. She went for her annual checkup in July and a lump was discovered in her left breast, he said. It was diagnosed as cancer and his wife had part of her left breast removed, as well as the lymph nodes on her left side.

"You have pretty good luck if they catch it early," Blake said.

Helen Soper, also of Berkeley Springs, said three of her family members and two friends had breast cancer. She is a colon cancer survivor, with her cancer found through a routine colonoscopy.

Angel Bloom, a nurse for the Morgan County Health Department, said one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Some 85 percent of women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease, as was the case with Webster.

About 28 women, men and children walked for themselves or for family members or friends who had breast cancer. The event is to raise awareness of the need for breast cancer screening and to raise money through donations to supplement the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment Fund, which was created by the West Virginia Legislature in 1996.

The fund is used to provide breast and cervical cancer diagnostic and treatment services for underinsured or uninsured West Virginia women.

"As the funds are needed, it goes into the different West Virginia counties through their health departments," said Ruthie Watts, cancer information specialist for the state's Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program.

"The West Virginia Legislature will not grant more than $400,000 a year and it is not enough to sustain the fund," said Watts, and events such as this supplement the fund. All of the donations go into the fund and are used for diagnostics and treatment for West Virginia women.

Last February, four months before the end of their fiscal year, the state funding of $400,000 was depleted and West Virginia women were affected. New funding for the year became available July 1.

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