LaFayette Square turns pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, September 27, 2022

In a Saturday morning filled with laughter, joy, sisterhood and support, Paint the Town Pink returned to LaFayette Square after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s theme was “There’s No Place Like Hope” and all of Oz was in attendance.

“It’s very special to spend this time together, to walk with survivors during the walk and to hug and love on each other, “ said Wanda Lowe, a 21-year breast cancer survivor and member of Breast Friends For Life. “To be able to be back on the square and do all that in person is just wonderful.”

Lowe worked at West Georgia Health in patient education when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I was working with Charlene [McClanahan, Director of Oncology at Wellstar] together in cancer care prior to being diagnosed, but it was kind of our dream to do something like this, and it is grown way more than I ever dreamed it would. It’s beautiful,” Lowe said.

Since 2006, Paint the Town Pink has kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sponsored by Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center, Breast Friends for Life and West Central Georgia Cancer Coalition, the event serves to not only raise awareness for breast cancer but also encourage early detection.

The event also gave an opportunity to raise money for Breast Friends for Life to continue its mission to assist anyone throughout their treatment and to offer them comfort and support during a difficult time.

According to Lynn Howard, a 17-year survivor of breast cancer and member of Breast Friends for Life (BFFL), they were able to raise roughly $2,600 through Saturday — enough to support about 10 current patients of breast cancer.

The funds are only available to current breast cancer patients who live in Troup County and are going to Wellstar or local doctors for treatment. Patients must request help at Wellstar, according to Howard.

Adorned in their best pinks, Wellstar staff members, Breast Friends for Life support group members and others cheered on cancer survivors and those currently in their journey in a walk around the square in solidarity. During the event, many local resources for regarding women’s health, including free mammograms were available onsite.

“It’s all about our survivors,” Charlene McClanahan, Director of Oncology at Wellstar said. “It’s all about breast cancer awareness. It’s all about prevention, and we just hope to make that apparent to everybody through this whole event.”

“Being here, I feel so much love and so much friendship around all around from these people,” breast cancer survivor Malissa Sadler said. “Everybody doesn’t judge me. They know I work long hours, and I look rough but they still love me the same.”

When performed at regular intervals, mammograms help find breast cancer before symptoms appear treatment can start earlier. At Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center, the imaging team uses the most advanced technology to screen and diagnose breast cancer, including 3D tomosynthesis mammograms, breast ultrasounds, breast MRI, and minimally-invasive image-guided biopsies.

Treatment for breast cancer typically requires multiple types of therapy such as surgery, radiation oncology and some form of systemic therapy, such as targeted therapy, endocrine treatment, immunotherapy or chemotherapy. Treatment plans should be individualized for each patient’s unique diagnosis.

Since the pandemic started, BFFL has received fewer donations. With that in mind, donations to the group are always needed and go toward helping as many in need as possible.

Anyone interested in donating can do so by sending checks addressed to Breast Friends for Life to P.O. 385 LaGrange, Georgia 30241.