Care Connection

By focusing on both access and awareness, FIRST FRIDAY Pink Links helps South Texas women in more ways than one.

Special to Inspire Coastal Bend

Just one dollar can help the one in eight women who will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. For the second year in a row, FIRST FRIDAY is helping connect women in need with free screening mammograms in a unique fundraiser called FIRST FRIDAY Pink Links. Each Pink Link is $1, and every dollar raised stays right here in the Coastal Bend.

This moving initiative has a pink for every link: You can purchase Pink Links to recognize a survivor, in support of those fighting breast cancer or in memory of loved ones. In addition to all funds staying local, so do all the links. Pink Links will be collected and connected in a powerful display in our community.

“FIRST FRIDAY’s Pink Links is helping women of South Texas in more ways than one,” says Lamarr Graves, FIRST FIRDAY president. “We’re increasing access to mammograms, and we’re also increasing awareness.”

Raising funds and awareness for the importance of early detection of breast cancer is all part of FIRST FRIDAY’s decades-long dedication to South Texas women. For 23 years, FIRST FRIDAY has been helping save lives by increasing awareness of the importance of early detection and removing the barrier of cost by providing free screening mammograms for those in need.

Early detection remains a critical tool in the fight against breast cancer. When considering the five-year milestone that many studies refer to as a benchmark, the American Cancer Society reports that nearly 100 percent of women with stage 0 or 1 breast cancer will reach it. This is why FIRST FRIDAY is dedicated to helping women find and treat breast cancer at its earliest stage.

Together with their medical partner, CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, FIRST FRIDAY has underwritten more than 16,000 screening mammograms for local women in our community.

“When you purchase a FIRST FRIDAY Pink Link, you will support a free mammogram screening for a mother, a sister, a daughter, a neighbor, a friend,” Graves says. “What’s important to remember is that every dollar raised stays in the Coastal Bend and provides qualifying women and men with a free mammogram screening.”

From now until the end of October, Pink Links are available for purchase at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Gift Shops, Radiology Associates imaging centers and online at ffpinklinks.org. All money collected will help fund free mammogram screenings for those who do not have the resources to pay for a mammogram.

Breast Cancer Facts

• Approximately 12 percent of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

• There are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

• Over the last 10 years, survival rates have improved. This decrease is believed to be the result of finding breast cancer earlier through screening and increased awareness, as well as better treatments.

“Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2015-2016” is accompanied by “Breast Cancer Statistics, 2015,” a scientific paper published in the American Cancer Society journal, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

For more information about the FIRST FRIDAY free mammogram screening program, call 361-985-5600 (option 1) or visit www.firstfridaycc.org.

Photos and artwork courtesy of First Friday