Saint Francis Medical Center kicked off its annual Pink Up Cape breast cancer awareness campaign with a bang on Wednesday night. More than 700 guests, including breast cancer survivors, their families and supporters, gathered in the Cancer Institute for food, entertainment and shopping, all benefitting Dig for Life, Saint Francis’ program that provides free mammography screenings for local women who could not otherwise afford them.
The evening featured the debut of the Pink Up Cape Choir, made up of choir members from Lynwood Baptist Church, Cape Community Mass Choir and Greater Dimension Church of God in Christ, and led by Brian Crisman of Lynwood Baptist. Country Music artist Candy Coburn of Dexter, Mo., joined the choir for a performance of her breast cancer anthem, “Pink Warrior,” an encore from last year’s event. A spectacular fireworks finale brought the evening to a close.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month begins October 1. Saint Francis and its many community partners will continue to raise awareness and funds for Dig for Life throughout the month. Pink lights on the Emerson Memorial Bridge spanning the Mississippi River support this year’s theme, “Let Your Light Shine,” along with the pink lights that again illuminate the Medical Center campus.
Saint Francis launched Pink Up Cape in 2010 to raise awareness of breast cancer in the community. During the campaign, residents are encouraged to “pink up” their homes and businesses in support of the cause. Proceeds benefit Dig for Life, a joint effort of Saint Francis Medical Center, Southeast Missouri State University and private donors that provides free mammograms to area women who otherwise could not afford them. Dig for Life provides more than 400 free mammograms to local women each year, and has provided more than 2,000 free mammograms since 2000.
Breast cancer is the second-most diagnosed–and second-most fatal–cancer in women. One in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease in her lifetime, but early detection could save her life. Women age 40 and older should have a yearly screening, but today only 51 percent get an annual mammogram.