By Jonesa Rodriguez - October 01, 2021
It’s no secret that when it comes to breast cancer and Black women, their outcomes are often different than those of other racial or ethnic groups. In fact, several studies show that Black women have the highest mortality rate from breast cancer and are more than likely to be diagnosed with an aggressive type of the disease.
While researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center are working to change this narrative, one organization is using their Miles for Moffitt team to bring awareness to this important issue.
The women of the Gamma Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority Incorporated formed their Miles for Moffitt team for many reasons, including that it aligns with their Women’s Healthcare and Wellness initiative. They want to bring full awareness in hopes of increasing minority participation and to show that Black women are serious about their health care.
“Participating in Miles for Moffitt gives us a chance to give back to the community, and it also allows us to draw awareness,” said Elaine H. Bryant, president of the Gamma Theta Omega Chapter. “As minorities, we are affected and for various reasons we often delay our medical treatments, but I believe if more of us get involved the likelihood of us passing down good habits will occur.”
Tackling the issue of breast cancer is nothing new to the AKA organization. Within their Women’s Healthcare and Wellness initiative, they provide free mammograms to underserved communities around the country, as well as hold educational sessions.
Now, the sorority women are ready to push the issue even more. By participating in Miles for Moffitt, they know that funds raised from the signature event go toward cancer research, which they hope will figure out why there’s a rapid growth in the number of breast cancer cases among Black women.
“I’m hoping some of the funded research will be on what’s affecting our communities and why we have such a heavy incidence of breast cancer,” said Bryant. “Hopefully, the funds will support research that will break down barriers, figure out some of the cultural issues and put more information into the community.”
Aside from just participating in the event, the women of the Gamma Theta Omega Chapter say they chose Miles for Moffitt to show that they are committed to health care and to cancer research for women of color and that this is not just an opportunity to give but to spark conversation.
“We want to send a signal to the health care community that we are engaged in our health and we understand the importance of early diagnosis,” said Tracy-ann Suleiman, co-chair of community service for the Gamma Theta Omega Chapter. “This is not just a one-way street where we are just giving, but we want to be included in the conversation and be at the table.”
Over the past 16 years, Miles for Moffitt, presented by AutoNation, has raised over $7 million supporting lifesaving cancer research at Moffitt and has gained millions in additional federal support.
Join Bryant, Suleiman and the women of the AKA sorority in their pursuit to help contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer at this year’s Miles for Moffitt on Nov. 20 in downtown Tampa. For more information or to register, visit www.MilesforMoffitt.com.