We did it!

Today was the launch of Street Smarts, and all went smoothly! By 11:00 a.m., the Fellowship Hall at Church of the Reconciler was filling up with women from area shelters and pockets throughout the city where homeless men and women congregate. We’re still calculating the turnout, but it was somewhere in the range of 75 women!

Volunteers showed up in droves, passing out box lunches provided by Newk’s and offering manicures, hand massages, and facials. I expected a bit more chaos, but our guests seemed happy for the opportunity to be pampered–and content to be out of the Alabama rains that fell hard on the roof above us.

Three wonderful oncology nurses from Cooper Green teamed up with Edwina and Lisa to provide a well-targeted talk on breast health featuring the ABC’s: A) mammograms, B) a doctor’s exam, and C) breast self exam. Stephanie Biggers, charge nurse at Cooper Green, asked the women to repeat each point loudly. They did, and a few threw their arms up in the air to confirm that they got the message!

In addition to a team from CNN, we got some coverage for the event from the CBS affiliate in B’ham (see below). Tomorrow’s edition of The Birmingham News will run a story as well.

I’m so very thankful for every single person who made my vision for Street Smarts a reality:
–the volunteers from Komen, UAB, Church of the Reconciler, Clearwater Baptist Church, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, First Church, Pathways, First Light, and on and on and on.
–Rachael Martin, asst. pastor at Church of the Reconciler, who first introduced me to people who have forever changed my path through life (and cancer).
–Mr. Rodney Cole and his team for crowd control–we ladies can get pretty raucous!
–Edwina, Lisa, and all of the survivors who have generously shared their struggles and triumphs with me.
–Ellen, Mandy, and Kelly at Komen, who believed in this program and supported me completely as we planned, tweaked, fretted, laughed, . . .
–and my editor at CR, Jessica Gorman, who encouraged me to follow my heart and write about this community, honestly–even if it pained me. Without her support, I’m not sure where I (or the many other individuals whose lives were touched today) would be.

http://www.cbs42.com/content/localnews/story/Street-Smarts-for-Homeless-Women/_BvZLNZEb0-El0XTxEwkIw.cspx

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