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There is no denying the rate of cancer is climbing in recent years. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it can be a life-shattering moment, not only for the patient but for their loved ones as well. The rise in cancer diagnosis has also caused a greater need for support for these families and communities affected. Here in Douglas, there is a group that is going above and beyond to help those affected by one particular type of cancer.
Back in 2007, two members of the Alpha Theta Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi in Douglas were diagnosed with breast cancer, almost back to back. The impact of these diagnoses was a driving factor in pushing the group into a meaningful movement. The statistics are real—1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Many women in Coffee County are battling the disease right now and need support for not only the emotional and physical toll that breast cancer can take, but also the financial toll. Since the diagnosis of the two sorority members Beta Sigma Phi has worked tirelessly making sure every October is pink in Coffee County to honor those affected by this disease.
The group has been taking donations for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a foundation dedicated to breast cancer awareness and research, for years. Lou Hennesy, a member of the Alpha Theta Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi who is dedicated to the breast cancer awareness cause, wants to make sure that everyone knows they can make a difference. Even just a one dollar donation can help the cause tremendously. There are many ways to support Passionately Pink and help raise funds from wearing Pink in October and especially on Passionately Pink Day which is Oct. 29, to planning a pink party at work or with friends, or dressing up your store windows. Many local businesses, schools, organizations and churches are already planning ways to support this cause. Beta Sigma Phi’s Pink House located at 311 Columbia Avenue in Douglas is the headquarters for the group and is filled to the brim with merchandise. It is also a safe haven for breast cancer survivors and those who are currently battling breast cancer.
Beta Sigma Phi shows support for those affected by breast cancer not only by funding research, but also by assisting those in the local community who may need help with everyday expenses, and who cannot get to important doctor’s appointments for vital treatments and check-ups. Gift baskets filled with essentials for those diagnosed with breast cancer is one of the most common gifts the group give. It can include a mastectomy pillow, which is designed to allow patients who have had the operation to sleep and recline more comfortably. Though the group does not solicit patients out of respect of their privacy, if the patient or someone close to the patient gives the group a call, Beta Sigma Phi jumps into action to assist in any way they can. Much thought and care goes into everything the group does for breast cancer patients.
Much of what the group does is in memory and in honor of Lisa Moore Chriqui and others in the community who, though they fought courageously, could not overcome the disease. Last year, yet another Beta Sigma Phi sister in Douglas was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is doing well, but it has cemented the reality of the disease even more firmly within the group. It is with great passion and a strong desire to see the end of the disease’s rampage that the group does all that it does.
Early detection is an extremely important, and often life-saving, weapon against breast cancer. Thanks to donations from our community in Coffee County and the relentless work of these women, Beta Sigma Phi was able to put forth $12,000 for an extremely key item in breast cancer detection—a 3D mammography machine for Coffee Regional Medical Center. It is a very valuable fruit of an extremely honorable labor, one that can potentially save many lives of local women.
The theme for this year’s Passionately Pink event is Mission Possible: We Will Find a Cure. Though education, early detection, and financial assistance are three of the most urgent goals of the group, the ultimate goal for Beta Sigma Phi is to provide funding to research for a cure. Breast cancer affects the lives of millions of men and women, and these patients will need support until a cure is found. The Alpha Theta Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi in Douglas is working diligently to support everyone affected and to help fund a cure. As October rolls on, many new events will be announced and everyone in Coffee County is to show support for those who are currently fighting, have fought and won, or have passed, due to breast cancer. Everyone can show support by either donating, wearing their Passionately Pink shirts and displaying the color pink during the month of October. Join Beta Sigma Phi in their mission to find a cure, and, as always, think pink!