Helping save a life, one step at a time

On Halloween, Oct. 31, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. several different health centers such as the Ovarian & Breast Cancer Alliance, Cierra Sisters Inc. and the T.N.T. Empowerment Group, came to Bellevue College with one goal: to help inform and protect students.

This Health Fair had an array of information from breast cancer awareness to HIV/AIDS and nutrition. Zawdie Terry, program director of Health First, stated  that “there are cooking classes available so we can teach students about eating good nutrition.”

The founder of T.N.T. Empowerment Group, LaTanya, spoke that she feels having these fairs can help keep not only students safe from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, but also the general public.

LaTanya stated, “You never know who could be carrying the disease and getting tested is free for anyone.” With a bowl of candy mixed with condoms on the table, LaTanya and her fellow members of this establishment were not only trying to spread the Halloween cheer, but also reminding students about safe sex.

Cierra Sisters is a non-profit  organization dedicated to Founder, Bridgette Hempstead who was diagnosed with the disease in 1996 on her 35th birthday.

Their mission is simply to “break the cycle of fear” by increasing knowledge of the disease to those who are amongst the African-American or underserved communities. Cierra Sisters has made it their goal to increase local, state and nationwide knowledge about the impacts of cancer.

Thereare several steps that women are advised to take for early detection of the disease, which is the best protection against cancer. Women starting at the age of 20 should be doing a breast self exam every month. A clinical examination by trained medical professionals every two to three years, starting at the age of 20 is also recommended. Women over 40 should receive these each year. A mammogram is also recommended each year, starting at the age of 35, and if breast cancer has been in your family, getting a mammogram soon and more often is crucial.