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Brenda’s Brown Bosom Buddies raises breast cancer awareness

Pink hats and ties filled the Harbert Center at the Brenda's Brown Bosom Buddies 8th annual Pink Hat and Tie Luncheon. (Stephonia McLinn Taylor photo)
By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times

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A sea of pink filled the Harbert Center in downtown Birmingham on Saturday as Brenda’s Brown Bosom Buddies held its 8th annual Pink Hat and Tie Luncheon.

The luncheon, supports Brenda’s Brown Bosom Buddies (BBBB), a 501 © (3) organization that supports people with breast cancer as well as education and early detection of breast cancer in minority, low-income and underserved women and men.

Brenda J. Phillips Hong, a 30 year breast cancer survivor, founded the organization in 1998 in Detroit and became a 501 © 3 when Hong moved to Birmingham in 2010. Hong said women of color didn’t have that kind of support group at the time.

“I was diagnosed twice and there was nothing for women of color in the Detroit area,” she said. “I went to several events and . . . I found that there was a need to get together because there are so many issues that are different among us,” she said.

During the luncheon, awards were also given to survivors including Marshaye L. Lynn, (13 years) and Barbara Young, (two years), who received the Brownie Award for their commitment to the organization and giving back to the community.

“Let nothing stop you from living and moving forward,” said Lynn during her acceptance speech. “You will face obstacles in life but you have to recognize them as temporary because God has a greater purpose in store for you. Some things are out of our control, so don’t ever lose hope in Him. Remember H.O.P.E., He Only Provides Everything.”

Young said she is grateful for the work BBBB provides.

“To me, the organization means awareness and its means giving back to the community through that awareness and I am happy to be a part,” said Young.

Lynneice Washington, District Attorney of the Bessemer Division, in her eighth year as a breast cancer survivor, expressed her love for BBBB.

“I want to take everything that I have went through, and even my position, to empower women and also to make sure that we know that we are worthy,” she said. “We are worthy of respect, honor and worthy of ourselves, to love ourselves and demand that other people love us as well.

“As far as my role as a district attorney and as a survivor, I am symbolic of all black women . . . I want women to know that we are strong and we are survivors and as long as we know who we are and whose we are, there’s nothing we cannot accomplish.”

Participants enjoyed live entertainment, a fashion show, a parade of hats and door prizes and giveaways.

Proceeds from the event will go to support funding for mammograms, transportation and scholarships.