BRA-vo! Applause for the Cause: Gift of Life Celebrates National Mammography Day with Poignant Art Exhibit and Luncheon
Published 10:37 am Thursday, October 15, 2015
Special to The Leader
The Gift of Life will celebrate National Mammography Day with breast cancer survivors and supporters at its 6th Annual BRA-vo! Applause for the Cause Luncheon Gallery Exhibit on Friday, October 16 from 11:30 am until 1:00 pm at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas (500 Main Street • Beaumont). The luncheon celebrates the BRA-vo! project exhibit, which inspires thousands of Southeast Texans with the expressive designs and courageous spirit of breast cancer survivors through poignant bra artwork.
Using bras as an expressive palette to convey breast cancer survivors’ stories and further emotional healing, these works of art illustrate the profound cancer journey of those most impacted by the disease and heighten the importance of education and early detection.
“The Gift of Life is honored by the outpouring of love and support we receive from the region through this fun, artistic project, said Marty Craig, breast cancer survivor and Gift of Life Vice President. “This endeavor meaningfully demonstrates that cancer is not meant to be fought alone. Through the support of the community, everyone benefits from this extraordinary exhibit.”
The 6th Annual BRA-vo! Applause for the Cause is part of the Gift of Life’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, honoring the organization’s many years of saving lives in Southeast Texas and the thousands of individuals who have benefited from the compassionate services and education of the Gift of Life.
Founded in 1994, the Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program offers free healthcare services and education for residents throughout seven Southeast Texas counties. Since inception, the organization has helped extend the lives of more than 250 individuals who have been diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer and navigated through treatment and healing.
During National Ovarian and Breast Cancer Awareness Months (September and October), the Gift of Life organizes and conducts events that empower women as healthcare advocates and further public knowledge and understanding of the symptoms related to these diseases and other devastating female cancers. The organization’s educational outreach encourages the practice of early detection and motivates young people to adopt healthy lifestyles that reduce the incidence of precancerous and cancerous diseases associated with tobacco and alcohol usage.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women with an estimated 234,190 new cases of breast cancer and 40,730 deaths projected in 2015. Mammography can often detect breast cancer at an early stage, when treatment is more effective and a cure is more likely. Numerous studies have shown that early detection saves lives and broadens treatment options.
With the support of Baptist Hospitals, UTMB Galveston and local sponsors, the Gift of Life Breast Cancer Program annually provides more than 2,300 free mammograms and clinical breast exams. Since the organization’s inception, more than 175 Southeast Texas women have been diagnosed with breast cancer and navigated into treatment. During the past two years alone, the Gift of Life has detected breast cancer in 22 women who have been given treatment and support.
In 2011, the Gift of Life and Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas established the Pink Power Network Breast Cancer Support Group to enhance the continuum of care for people at all stages of their diagnoses at monthly meetings that feature relevant healthcare topics and speakers. The meetings, which have an attendance of 30 or more active participants, provide a forum for breast cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and family members to share experiences and hope.
Additionally, in an effort to increase awareness and early detection of cancer, in 2012, the Gift of Life, in partnership with the Lamar University JoAnne Gay Dishman Department of Nursing, formed Cancer Crusaders, an educational initiative that teaches the most advanced signs and symptoms of various types of cancer, as well as the risk factors and diagnosis methods, to medical professionals and the lay community.
For more information about the Gift of Life, please call 409.833.3663 or visit giftoflifebmt.org.