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Supporting future survivors of breast cancer with balloon ceremony

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POSTED: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 4:00am

UPDATED: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 4:04am

Women in Ascension Parish are offering their prayers and their encouragement to anyone fighting breast cancer. They believe the support will bring the community closer together, and help patients become survivors.

Monday marked the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Week, as ordained by Parish President Tommy Martinez. Everything was pink at Bicentennial Jazz Plaza, both for breast cancer awareness, and to show Donaldsonville's heart.

Breast cancer is, "a growing thing," in Donaldsonville, Janice Linton stated. "It looks like, every time you turn around,
somebody is saying that, 'I was diagnosed with cancer,' and stuff like that."

Linton is a breast cancer survivor. She was one of a couple of survivors to attend a special vigil in honor of the disease Monday night. A recurring theme of the evening was that, when many patients find fear with their diagnosis, they turn to each other to find strength.

"I went through a day or so of trying to get things together," Wanda August recalled of her diagnosis in 2004, "but then I just went to what I was familiar with, and that's praying to God for a healing."

"My first thought was to go to Wanda and say, 'I have cancer,'" Iris Morand said. "I didn't know how to go to my family; I went to her first."

Morand and August happened to be neighbors when Morand found out she had cancer, a couple years after August beat the disease. A nurse, Morand struggled to accept that she could get cancer; a doctor would tell her a second time that she had it last year.

At sunset, August, Linton, and Morand, joined by two dozen friends, lit candles in the plaza, wrote the names of cancer
survivors on pink balloons, and sent them into the fading daylight. They wanted to show that, by banding together, cancer will some day fade away, too.

"The doctors and the scientists, they are trying to find a cure," Linton said. "And that's all we are hoping and praying for: a cure for all of us."

These women hope dozens more will join them on Saturday for the American Cancer Society's walk in New Orleans. Last year, they raised $2,000 for research, but they have greater aspirations this year.

"Our prayer is to start a chain reaction," August said, "to let everyone know that with hope, patience, and understanding, you can win."

Breast Cancer Awareness Week is being hosted by the Parish of Ascension Department of Recreation and Culture and the River Road African American Museum. Events are scheduled each night this week. For the full schedule, download the attachment below.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Week in Donaldsonville Flyer.pdf55.41 KB

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