Minden Press-Herald

Oct 01st

Local woman takes up fight

Minden’s Marching Crew looking for a few good women and men

Research shows that one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. That statistic makes it eventually possible for someone in your circle of influence to be effected.

Sonia McLemore, local volunteer for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, has never had a friend or family member diagnosed with breast cancer but she has taken the fight personal.

"Most people know somebody that has been affected with breast cancer, that would not be me," she said. As a Registered Nurse at Minden Medical Center McLemore said her desire to help was birthed while working with Dr. Erin Soleto, MD.

"She performs a lot of mastectomies and the more I got involved I realized there are so many people that can't afford to have mammograms," said McLemore.

In the August 17, 2005 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers report that there is a survival advantage for breast cancers detected by mammograms, even when adjustments were made for tumor stage, tumor size and lymph node status.

Three very large randomized studies followed women, ages 40-64, for up to 16 years. More than 75,000 women were involved in the study groups.

The report also stated women whose breast cancers were not found by mammography had a 53 percent greater risk of breast cancer death compared to those with cancers detected by mammography.

Researchers also report, that mammography can often detect cancers before they can be felt or before they cause symptoms. Slower growing tumors tend to be detected by mammography more often than more aggressive tumors, so having a mammogram, is more likely to help someone live longer.

When McLemore became aware that resources were available but were unknown to many in the area she became actively involved.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation hosts an annual 5K run/walk where 75 percent of net funds raised stay within the 10-parish area of northwest Louisiana to support life-saving programs for uninsured and underinsured women. The remaining 25 percent is directed to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® grants

McLemore formed a Race for the Cure walking group, Minden's Marching Crew. The group is made up of MMC employees, friends and relatives but "it is open to anyone that wants to join," she said.

In addition to her Race for the Cure efforts, she coordinates and collects donations from local doctors, and she designs and sells t-shirts.

Last year's t-shirt design by McLemore was "Don't Let Cancer Steal Second Base," and this year's design is, "Big or Small, Save Them All."

"McLemore is quick to admit her t-shirts are, "right there on the edge of being offensive," but for good reason she said, "I want to educate the young girls."

Teaching girls at a young age is important, she said, "if you teach them what they need to know about a breast exam, they will know before it ever gets bad."

A catchy phrase is the key, she said, because "it sticks with them."

The 17th Annual Susan G. Komen Northwest Louisiana Race for the Cure will be held Saturday, September 17 at CenturyTel, Bossier City. For more information about the foundation or the 5k run/walk go to www.komennwla.org.

Anyone interested in joining Minden's Marching Crew or in ordering a t-shirt contact McLemore at 422-7337.

The deadline to order a t-shirt is September 9 and the cost of $15 is due when the order is placed.






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