Breast cancer awareness month kicks off

Long-haired Blanca Welds has a challenge for the Lions Club of Tropical Garden’s breast cancer awareness campaign this month. 

If a Cut-a-Thon in support of the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens raises more than $1,000, she’ll cut her hair short for the first time in her life. 

Ms Welds, whose hair when she lets it down reaches to below her waist, announced her challenge during the opening ceremony of the annual awareness campaign Monday.
“I’ve always had it long,” she said, but she’s willing to embrace a more cropped look for the sake of raising money for a cause very close to the hearts of all the members of the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens. 

If the fundraisers collect more than $1,000, which goes toward the provision of free mammograms for women who cannot afford them, on 21 October at the annual Cut-A-Thon at Eclipze Hair Design and Day Spa, Ms Welds will have her hair chopped off. 

President of the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens Elva Smith presided over the opening of the 15th annual breast cancer awareness campaign at Camana Bay on Monday, 1 October, during which Jennifer Ahearn, chief officer of the Ministry of Health provided opening comments, standing in for Health Minister Mark Scotland. 

Every October, the club conducts awareness meetings in each district in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac and partners with the Health Services Authority to host breast cancer clinics, at which doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals address breast cancer issues and highlight new developments and treatment of the disease. 

At the meetings and clinics, the club provides literature and free mammogram vouchers are given out to women age 40 and older and to younger women who have a family history of breast cancer. Throughout the year, the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens distributes up to $50,000 worth of mammogram vouchers. 

“For the past 15 years, our club has been committed in spreading the message that early detection of breast cancer is the best prevention – a mission that still rings true today,” Ms Smith said. 

“In 1997, when we first embarked on this project, we undertook to educate and encourage women to get their breast screening done regularly and to make mammogram vouchers available to persons without health insurance coverage … We also provide support to survivors who find it necessary to obtain further treatment overseas.  

“We strive to continue this project, though challenging the task is, in these difficult economic times,” she said. 

To raise money throughout October, the club is selling pink ribbon pins and T-shirts and others items relating to breast cancer. 

The club has opened an office in George Town this week where people can purchase the items, register for the upcoming Brenda Tibbetts Lund 5K Memorial Walk/Run and find out more about how they can support the campaign. The street-front office is located at Unit 120, Elizabethan Square. It is open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. 

Dr. Elaine Bogle-Taylor, a radiologist at Cayman Islands Hospital, and Loshana López-Francis, president of the newly formed Clifton Hunter Leo Club of Clifton Hunter High School, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of this year’s awareness campaign on Monday. 

Afterward, attendees lined up to pin pink cloth ribbons to a giant pink ribbon to remember friends and family members who had succumbed to breast cancer, who had survived it or who were fighting it. 

The theme of this year’s awareness campaign is “United for the cause – Together we’re positively pink.” 

On Friday, 12 October, people throughout Cayman are invited to take part in a “Dress Down, Dress Pink Day” to show their support in the fight against breast cancer by wearing pink to work. Later that evening, a Dress Pink Affair will be held at Camana Bay in support of the campaign. 

On Saturday, 20 October, the Brenda Tibbetts Lund 5K Memorial Run/Walk will start at Public Beach on West Bay Road at 6am. Brenda Tibbetts Lund, a strong activist for breast cancer awareness, passed away in 1998 from breast cancer. Shortly after her death, the Lions Club of Grand Cayman established the annual cancer walk in her honour. 

Eclipze Hair Design and Day Spa in Camana Bay will host its Cut-A-Thon from 2 to 6pm on Sunday, October 21, with volunteers from several salons and spas in Grand Cayman offering wet cuts, mini manicures, eye brow threading and $1-a-minute massages.  

On Sunday, 28 October, Sameena’s Beauty Salon will hold a Day of Beauty at its Coe Centre location on North Church Street in support of the campaign. 

There will also be a special, invitation only, breakfast for breast cancer survivors held on Saturday, 27 October. 

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Blanca Welds, right, pictured with Lion Kerry Nixon, has offered to cut her hair off to raise money for breast cancer awareness month. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY

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Loshana López-Francis of the Leo Club of Clifton Hunter, left, and radiologist Dr. Elaine Bogle-Taylor cut the pink ribbon to mark the opening of the Lions Club of Tropical Garden’s annual campaign, as president Elva Smith looks on. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY

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The breast cancer awareness symbol, the pink ribbon covered in smaller pink ribbons. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY

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