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Breast Cancer Awareness Program Stitches Together Partners

Photo by Scott McCloskey – Getting the word out about breast cancer awareness and the importance of early detection, are from left: Mike DeArdo, Jim Robinson Ford Sales and Lease Consultant, Triadelphia Middle School Principal Ann Coleman, and Kyla Morris, Wheeling Hospital Schiffler Cancer Center survivorship coordinator.

WHEELING — With the kick-off of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Thursday, officials with Wheeling Hospital, Jim Robinson Ford, and Triadelphia Middle School held a press event to serve as an important reminder that not even COVID-19 pauses breast cancer.

During a small gathering at Jim Robinson Ford at The Highlands Thursday afternoon, local officials urged women who delayed screenings earlier this year because of coronavirus restrictions, to schedule their mammograms now as early detection can lead to better outcomes. The annual Quilt for a Cure initiative stitches together partners in the Ohio Valley with patches of comfort, all in an effort to encourage those in the battle against breast cancer.

About one in eight U.S. women (about 12.4%) will develop invasive breast cancer, according to the WVU Cancer Institute.

This year’s program actually began last October, when the partners visited Triadelphia Middle School to discuss with six-grade students how they could help out when a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt or neighbor is in breast cancer treatment. The students were offered the opportunity to decorate squares of comfort and encouragement which were made into Warrior Quilts by Neighborhood Ford Store Volunteer Sue Brichacek of Brentwood, Pa., who donates her time and talents for the Quilt for a Cure program.

Triadelphia Middle School Principal Ann Coleman, who is taking a few of the quilts back to the school to be put on display, said the students were truly glad to be a part of the program. She also wanted to give the sixth grade teachers credit for bringing the project together for the students.

Kyla Morris, Wheeling Hospital Schiffler Cancer Center survivorship coordinator, said with October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is extremely important to promote awareness and early screening.

“Early detection is the key — screening mammograms saves lives,” Morris explained. “We can treat early, and often-times breast cancer is curable if caught early,” she added.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual campaign every October to increase awareness of the disease. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wheeling hospital CEO Douglass Harrison said this October certainty is different than last year, but even during the current pandemic, it’s important to get an annual mammogram.

“COVID-19 isn’t pausing breast cancer. … Early detection can lead to better outcomes,” he added.

Nancy Lewis, Public Relations Manager for Neighborhood Ford Store, said one of Ford’s philanthropies is ‘Breast Cancer Awareness,’ so every October they work together with their partners to promote awareness and early mammogram screening. She said they are inviting the general public to stop in at Jim Robinson Ford and create a square of comfort and encouragement for this year’s quilts.

“We collect them and then we take them to the volunteer quilters,” Lewis commented.

Several of last year’s quilts have been hanging in the lobby of the Schiffler Cancer Center for the public to view.

In addition to important medical advice from Wheeling Hospital officials, the region’s 80 dealers of Neighborhood Ford Store, Ford Motor Company and the Ford Motor Company Fund announced that a donation of thousands of personal protective equipment (PPE) disposable face masks was given to Wheeling Hospital.

“This donation is part of a national initiative by Ford and it’s philanthropic arm, the Ford Motor Company Fund, to manufacture and distribute 100 million masks to nonprofits, schools, veterans, and other at-risk communities facing shortages of personal protective equipment,” said James Robinson of Jim Robinson Ford.

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