The arrival of fall brings with it so much, not the least of which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month throughout October. Across the nation, the month is highlighted by pink. Ribbons, pizza boxes and professional athletes – it seems around each corner more signs of awareness are found.
Macomb County is no different, as it is the proud home of BRAvo, the annual event – having just wrapped its sixth year – that not only raises awareness of breast cancer and the importance of early detection through yearly mammograms, but celebrates the lives of those who have been afflicted with the disease.
Held this year on Oct. 6 at Penna’s of Sterling in Sterling Heights, the evening was another overwhelming success, which introduced the crowd-pleasing and applause-rousing “Dancing with my Doc,” a professionally and intricately choreographed dance pairing a breast cancer survivor with the McLaren Macomb doctor who treated them back to health.
“It is very exciting that we’re continuing to see how well our supporters respond to the event,” said Louise Rallis, interim director of the McLaren Macomb Healthcare Foundation. “It lets us know that BRAvo has staying power – that it’s an event with a long and bright future.”
BRAvo 2015 raised more than $130,000 during that single evening, the most in the event’s history, which has brought in more than $474,000 since its inception in 2010 – up from $19,000 that first year.
Funds raised at the event go to support the BRAvo for Women program, which provides free mammograms – the critical, annual breast cancer screening test – to uninsured women throughout Macomb County.
More than 2,000 mammograms have been provided to Macomb County women since the program’s inception in 2010, all free of charge.
Nationwide, more than 40,000 women die each year because of breast cancer. Many could have been prevented if they had had access to early detection.
“A regular mammogram is vital to all women,” said Pat Keigher, MHA, regional director of cancer services at McLaren Macomb. “Early detection is key in leading a breast cancer patient down a successful treatment plan. Not all women in the county have the insurance to cover this critical screening, but that does not mean they should be denied and potentially put their health at risk.”
For more information about the annual BRAvo event, or to learn more about the BRAvo for Women free mammogram program, visit mclaren.org/macomb.