The USO Warrior and Family Center and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital will host two premier National Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities on Fort Belvoir next week: a 5K run/walk on Oct. 17 and a special luncheon and tour of the Breast Care Center, Oct. 18.
The theme for both events is "Early detection saves lives."
According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. In the United States, it is estimated that approximately 234,580 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and 40,030 women will die from the disease in 2013.
"This is the first year that we're doing this. We're hoping to make it annual," said Sgt. Matthew Merkle, oncology noncommissioned officer-in-charge at Belvoir hospital. "The point we really want to get across is the importance of early detection. The chances of survival dramatically increase."
On Oct. 17, the Breast Cancer Awareness 5K community run/walk will start at the Oaks Pavilion at 11:45 a.m., go to 12th Street, up Gunston Road and back to the hospital on 1st Street to end in the Meadows Parking lot around 12:30 p.m. Col. Chuck Callahan, Hospital commander, and Lt. Col. Brian Zarchin, Fort Belvoir Headquarters Battalion commander, will provide remarks.
The entire community is invited to participate. Registration is free and available online at https://fbbreast cancer5k.eventbrite.com. All participants are encouraged to wear pink, the color of the breast cancer awareness ribbon.
The Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon is Oct. 18, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the USO Warrior and Family Center.
The luncheon features guest speakers, including breast cancer survivors who received treatment at the hospital's Breast Care Center, and former Miss Washington D.C. (2012) Allyn Rose, who lost her mother to breast cancer and made breast cancer awareness her platform in the 2012 Miss America pageant.
"She has been a spokesperson for a few different breast cancer awareness foundations," said K. J. Stevens, USO programs coordinator. "She'll be here to talk about her personal journey. She's going to talk about why it's so important to be aware and have early detection practices."
The luncheon will also include educational booths on breast cancer prevention and early detection.
One booth will teach visitors how to perform self breast exams using breast models, Merkle said.
Guests at the luncheon will get the chance to tour the Breast Care Center and meet members of the staff.
"Belvoir hospital has a vast and incredible oncology department, as well as a wealth of information and services to help with early detection of breast cancer," Stevens said. "We have these amazing facilities here that we hope that no one would need to use, but in the chance that they do, we would hope that they are as educated as possible to be able to detect it."
For more information on these events, visit the Fort Belvoir USO or Fort Belvoir Community Hospital Facebook page.

Page last updated Thu October 10th, 2013 at 00:00