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Public Employee Press
By JOSEPH LOPEZ
MORE 2.8 MILLION WOMEN in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer.
This year, over 245,000 new cases are likely to be detected, and some 40,450 women will lose their lives to the disease.
A contingent of DC 37 members from various locals, led by the union's Health/Disability Advisory Committee, joined thousands of New Yorkers in the march to raise awareness about the illness on Oct. 16 in Central Park at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.
"Every member who joined us had their own personal reasons for being involved," said Health/Disability Advisory Committee Chair and Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild President Eileen Muller.
"We heard stories about wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, even first-hand experiences fighting the disease and it really makes you see a different, more private side to your union brothers and sisters," Muller said.
In addition to the pink DC 37 Breast Cancer Awareness shirts that were given out, survivors of the illness were adorned with special sashes celebrating their endurance.
"Everybody who joined us was enthusiastic to be there," Muller said. "It was just amazing."
One friend Muller invited to the walk, a DC 37 retiree, had never volunteered with the union before and couldn't help but find the experience to be remarkable. "She can't wait to volunteer more with DC 37 in the future," Muller said.
The greatest weapon against breast cancer is early detection.
Women who are 40 years old or older should have regular checkups with their doctor.
Treatment is much more successful when the disease is spotted promptly. Roughly 85 percent of women diagnosed have no family history of breast cancer, so it is important for all women to be diligent about screenings.
"Until we find a cure, we need to keep supporting the cause and keep walking," said Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549 Executive Vice President Alma Roper, who joined other Local 1549 members at Brooklyn's Breast Cancer walk in Prospect Park.
Roper started taking part in the walks 15 years ago, after her aunt, who was also her godmother, passed away from the disease.
"I also learned that a lot of our members at 911, where I was chapter chair, were stricken with breast cancer, so we started walking for them as well," Roper said.