By Steve Blanchard - September 19, 2020
Elaine H. Bryant has a simple message for women: Don’t let fear keep you from talking about your health or prevent you from getting the screenings that could save your life. That’s why she’s encouraging her friends and family to take part in Moffitt Cancer Center’s Virtual Ladies Night on Oct. 1.
The event, which has been redesigned in the age of COVID-19 this year, offers women a chance to tour the breast clinic at Moffitt’s McKinley campus and hear from patients, survivors and medical professionals about the importance of screening and treatment.
“You have to take care of yourself,” said Bryant, who’s a regular at Ladies Night. “The more you know, the less frightened you will be. Attend this virtual event for yourself. Do it for your grandchildren who don’t want you to die early. And don’t believe the scary things told by your family members that may be inaccurate.”
Talking about illnesses, cancer in particular, is never an easy thing to do. However, that conversation can lead to screening, which provides peace of mind as well as a more successful outcome with an early diagnosis.
In previous years, Ladies Night could welcome about 75 women who were interested in touring the facility. Because this year’s event is virtual, the number of participants isn’t limited by space or geography.
“Women from all over the world can join us this year, and that’s truly exciting,” said Chantel Griffin-Stampfer, manager of M-POWER, Moffitt Program for Outreach, Wellness, Education and Resources. “There is an opportunity here for women to join us with a friend or family member from the safety and comfort of their homes. COVID has been a barrier for so many things, but in this instance it has created a brand new opportunity.”
While the structure of Ladies Night has changed, the message has not. Dispelling myths and barriers particularly for Black women who have a heavier breast cancer burden remains the focus. And empowering women will translate into a successful event.
“That empowerment comes in a variety of ways,” Griffin-Stampfer said. “We want to encourage women to get mammograms and participate in well-being checks. Screening and prevention are so important, and encouraging women to adjust their screening behaviors will provide them with a healthier and perhaps longer life.”
The webinar begins at 6:30 p.m., but participants are encouraged to log in at 6 for 30 minutes of music, breast cancer facts, inspiration and networking with attendees about their own breast cancer experiences. Moderator Valerie Goddard, a Moffitt board member and CEO and Chief Strategist of The Goddard Group, will open up a live discussion and introduce a panel of experts who will discuss the importance of screening and updates on breast cancer treatments.
Two topics have Griffin-Stampfer excited: self-care and how to talk to a coworker or friend about her diagnosis.
“This loops back to the fear women have of talking about their health,” Griffin-Stampfer said. “We’ll have social work here to lend some perspective on those discussions. I think all of the information will be extremely valuable to our participants.”
Bryant is looking forward to the different format of Ladies Night and hopes to leverage the technology to encourage more of her fellow Gamma Theta Omega sisters to join.
“Moffitt is such a breath of fresh air for our community,” Bryant said. “They have opened up their doors and made us feel welcomed. They are also familiar with the health issues in the Black community and want to help us improve that health.”
Bryant’s experience at Ladies Night has convinced her to get screened at Moffitt, even though the thought of leaving her other health practitioner was daunting.
“The difference is night and day,” Bryant said. “I was just so impressed with the innovation at Moffitt and with the courtesy and education that is provided there. I was just so impressed and encourage women, all women, to learn more about screening through this event.”
You're Invited to Join us at Ladies Night at Moffitt Cancer Center
WHAT: Virtual Ladies Night
WHEN: 6 p.m. | Thursday, Oct. 1