By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Published: 2017-08-15 01:40
Date Modified: 2017-08-15 06:03

Fear and Finances should never be barriers to critical screenings

(Lawrenceville) Too frequently, women put off mammograms because of fear and/or finances. In 2016, Paint Georgia Pink, Inc., community volunteers, and staff at Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) realized the impact of these barriers on early detection, resulting in the birth of Paint Gwinnett Pink 5K Walk.

Paint Gwinnett Pink was organized to address these barriers specifically in Gwinnett County. The inaugural event was made possible through the collaboration of an incredible group of people: 

• Susan Oates, Executive Director of Paint Georgia Pink, Inc. (Paint Georgia Pink, Inc. is a non-profit whose mission is to provide assistance to Georgia residents in need who are facing a breast cancer diagnosis).
• Community volunteers who wanted an annual breast cancer walk in Gwinnett 
• Staff at GMC who all too often witness financial barriers 
• 2016 Paint Gwinnett Pink Committee, Sponsors, and participants

Moving into the second year of the event, the fear barrier to early detection is being addressed through a partnership with GMC Breast Center and the Paint Gwinnett Pink (PGP) Committee. PGP registered participants will receive educational information around prevention, early detection, and screening guidelines and options. Because early detection is critical to saving lives, participants will be asked to forward the educational information to family and friends. The PGP 5K/Walk Run Facebook Fan page and the PGP website will also provide educational messaging.

The financial barrier to regular screenings will continue to be addressed through the GMC breast fund created in 2016 which was made possible from the proceeds of this event. Other cancer support services are also a part of the mission such as providing necessary comfort items for when a patient in need receives breast cancer treatment. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from the event will contribute to funding the foremost diagnostic technology, empowering participants to play a role in ensuring preeminent screening capabilities for the Gwinnett community.

Last year’s event exceeded expectations as members of the Gwinnett community signed up to make a difference. “A 5K Walk/Run is a win-win for the community. It provides an opportunity for physical activity for participants for their own health while promoting breast health education and access to early detection screenings for all women in our community.”, says Paint Gwinnett Pink’s Communication Coordinator, Linda Cerjan.

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The 2016 event proved to be extremely meaningful. For many participants, it was doing something good for others. For breast cancer survivors, the event was an opportunity to celebrate survivorship. For caregivers who had lost a loved one, it was a step closer to healing by literally walking through their grief.

Individuals interested in supporting PGP should go to the website to register. Registration is $35. Individuals are encouraged to create teams with each team member reaching out to friends and family to support them as a participant by: 

• Making a donation or starting a team by visiting www.paintgwinnettpink.org 
• Forwarding educational email and social media messaging to friends and family

This will be a family fun event with concessions, vendors, entertainment, and awards for the top runners (a 5K run was added for 2017 and serves as a pre-qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race). Sponsorships are available and there are still openings for vendors. Any questions can be asked through the contact section of the website.

Due to tremendous support for last year’s inaugural event, “The Force Awakens” will be the 2017 PGP theme! Participants are invited to attend the event dressed as their favorite Star Wars character. The 2017 Paint Gwinnett Pink will be held on October 7th and begins and ends at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville.

For more information on the non-profit Paint Georgia Pink, Inc., visit www.paintgeorgiapink.org.