By Reginald Allen
For The Birmingham Times
Breast Cancer Conquerors (BCC) held its Brunch and Learn banquet Saturday, June 24 at WorkPlay in downtown Birmingham, a fundraiser with proceeds going to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.
BCC, founded by Brooke Moss Horn, is a nonprofit geared toward educating people about breast cancer awareness.
The sold-out event boasted a diverse line-up of survivors, experts and relatives of family members who faced the disease. Additionally, the University of Alabama at Birmingham staff were on site to assist patrons with scheduling mammogram appointments.
Speakers delivered their personal testimonies and urged attendees to schedule mammogram and pap smear check-ups. Celebrity attorney and Real Housewives of Atlanta cast member Phaedra Parks served as the brunch’s special guest.
Parks, a graduate of Jefferson State College, spoke on her various encounters with the disease that takes the lives of 40,000 women and men every year. In one anecdote, the Buckhead native talked about finding out her childhood friend was diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age. While her friend didn’t lose the battle with cancer, the situation left Parks in a state of fear.
“Every day we have to fight for our health,” said the reality star. “And because of her, I was afraid to get a mammogram. I only had my first mammogram last year because every time I would think about it, I associated it with finding bad news because my friend went through it twice. And I said ‘I have these boys, my husband’s in prison’…and I said, ‘I have to take care of these kids and this law firm, I have families that depend on me, I have to do these funerals … I ‘ve got to be present.’”
Parks commended speakers for sharing their stories, which served as proof that not every diagnosis leads to the grave. She also underlined the necessity of self-care, especially when it comes down their health status.
“Every death and every sickness will not lead to death,” Parks said. “Sometimes, it’s about the journey. I know as a woman we fight for our children. We fight for our careers. We fight for our marriage, but a lot of times we forget to fight for our own well-being.”
Speakers also included Latesha Isbell Howard, Thelma Perry Brown, Bridgett Peoples Mitchell, Minster Timothy Ruffin and Comedienne JP Laffsum, the winner of the Showtime contest at the 2018 Sickle Cell Gala.
For more information on the Breast Cancer Conquerors and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, visit www.cancercenter.uab.edu