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“Paint the Town Pink” raises money for cancer screenings

BLAKELY — Earlier this month, Blakely held its annual “Paint the Town Pink” event, raising $2,000 for cancer community screenings.

More than 100 men and women attended the luncheon to support the fight against breast cancer. Guests heard from area health officials and cancer survivors and bid on wreaths to raise funds.

This year, Cancer Coalition of South Georgia was chosen as the recipient of funds raised. The result was $2,000 to go toward cancer screenings, education and outreach in Early County, officials with the Cancer Coalition say.

The Cancer Coalition has collaborated with Primary Care of Southwest Georgia (PCSWGA) and the Early County Health Department since 2009 to offer breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings to uninsured residents. The Cancer Coalition employs a health navigator who works with the area’s primary care center clinicians to make sure patients get the care they need.

“Thanks to the generosity of local residents, we will be able to provide more uninsured women in Early County with potentially lifesaving mammograms,” said Rhonda Green, community cancer screening program manager for the Cancer Coalition who works directly with patients in Early County.

Event sponsors and partners included PCSWGA, Early Choices, Funny Girl Deli & Catering, GENTIVA Home Health & Hospice and Pioneer Community Hospital.

“We are so proud of our partnerships with health-concerned organizations in Early County, and with these community leaders who stand with us in the fight against cancer,” said Denise Ballard, vice president for cancer prevention and control with the coalition.

The Georgia Department of Public Health Online Analytical Statistical Information System shows there were 46 deaths, all of them women, in the Southwest Public Health District — including one in Early County — in 2011, the latest year for which data is available. The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women this year, with 39,620 women expected to die from it.