Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Joins HERA To Raise Awareness of Breast Cancer
TBILISI – May 10, 2009 –
Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, global leader in the breast cancer movement, today helped launch the first-ever Georgia Race for the Cure®, organized by the Women Wellness Care Alliance HERA in collaboration with Komen for the Cure. The fundraising event was held on Turtle Lake to build awareness about breast cancer and to help increase access to life-saving screening options for Georgians. Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Roelofs headlined the event and stressed the importance of early detection.
Komen for the Cure International Race Ambassador Dorothy Paterson joined Roelofs in urging Georgian women to take charge of their breast health. “Early detection can save your life,” said Paterson. “With nearly half-a-million women around the globe dying from breast cancer each year, together we can break the silence and raise awareness about this devastating disease.”
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and is the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide. In Georgia, breast cancer is often detected in the late stages of the disease when treatment options are difficult, expensive and often not accessible to most Georgian women. Like so many other countries around the world, breast cancer in Georgia carries a stigma that often inhibits women from talking about the disease and even seeking treatment.
“Breast cancer is needlessly taking the lives of many Georgian women each year,” said Marika Davituliani, director and co-founder of Women Wellness Care Alliance HERA. “In Georgia, women don't have access to quality information, are afraid to come forward and assume that cancer is a death sentence. The Georgia Race for the Cure will show the public that breast cancer is a real problem in Georgia and that we need to support women battling the disease. These women need to know that they are not alone.”
Thousands turned out for the Georgia Race for the Cure. Immediately following the event, a charity concert by the musical group STRING was held while women received free breast health educational materials. Earlier in the week, a special benefit performance by Nina Ananiashvili was held at the Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theatre to raise critical funds for breast cancer screenings.
Presenting sponsors of the Race include the National Screening Center and the John Snow Research and Training Institute within the scope of Women's Health Program financed by the United States Agency for International Development. More than 300 organizations have supported breast health education efforts in Georgia in recent years, under what was called a Breast Health Awareness Walk in Kutaisi.About Women Wellness Care Alliance HERA
Founded by a group of female health professionals in 2000, the Women Wellness Care Alliance HERA is a non-governmental organization that promotes reproductive health throughout Georgia, primarily addressing disparities in breast and cervical cancer early detection education. With the support from groups like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the USAID-funded Healthy Women in Georgia program, HERA has worked with health care providers to improve the methodologies and services provided to women, in addition to encouraging them to be sensitive to psychological factors surrounding breast and cervical cancer. HERA has also been successful in reaching the general public with quality information, one-on-one consultation, and direct services concerning reproductive health. Since its inception, HERA has taught over 10,000 women and 600 health care providers that early detection is the best protection.