Back to the streets

In just two days, we’ll be running the second Street Smarts event, this time at Jefferson County’s Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. In addition to spa services, lunch, and a breast cancer education session, participants will be given the opportunity to undergo initial screening through a clinical breast exam. Edwina and Lisa are on-board to share their experiences with stage IV breast cancer, both of them given the diagnosis while homeless.

I met up with Ellen and Sarah from Komen earlier today to prepare the fifth floor of Cooper Green for the event. Ironically, we have a good deal of space to run all aspects of the program only because the hospital has been forced to close the ob/gyn unit. In fact, it wasn’t more than a month ago when we got the word that oncology will remain open, at least for the time being, despite the severe funding problems the county is facing. The news spread fast in the homeless community, since Cooper Green is truly the only healthcare facility in Birmingham willing to treat the poorest of patients.

As I returned to Cooper Green on my own later this evening to set up a bulletin board for the event, I caught myself humming to myself and feeling pretty happy that Street Smarts is just about here. I’m proud of the program and the efforts of so many in the Birmingham community–volunteers from Komen, friends, former students, breast cancer survivors from all walks of life–to make the day special for women who don’t often have the luxury to tend to themselves or the confidence to trust their own bodies.

On a side note, the ASCO (American Society for Clinical Oncology) Post just published a piece on Street Smarts, along with some other exciting projects initiated by survivor-advocates: http://www.ascopost.com/issues/june-15-2012/cancer-survivors-stand-up,-give-thanks,-and-give-back.aspx

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