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‘Friends of Faith’ gather to eat and raise awareness

Mills College Weekly

African American women are diagnosed with breast cancer less often, but are also more likely to die then other groups of women once the disease has been found.

Mills is hosting the Friends of Faith Breast Cancer Fundraiser during Black History Month to not only highlight the importance of proper detection and care for African American women, but "for any women who are affected by breast cancer and having financial difficulties," said junior and event coordinator Daphina Marshall.

"The Bay Area has the highest incidents of breast cancer in the nation, even if [you] don't have it it's a sure bet that someone who is close to [you] will," she said.

It's for these reasons that "local treasure" Faith Fancher founded Friends of Faith, Cynthia Turner told The Weekly. Fancher, the first black woman reporter at WBR in Knoxville, Tennessee was diagnosed with Breast Cancer while she was a newscaster at Channel 2 News in Oakland. She lead a very public fight against the disease.

"What was so amazing was she just decided when she was diagnosed that she was going to share this with the community," Turner said.

Fancher went into remission and fought "even harder when it came back" the organizations Web site says. Fancher succumbed to the disease in October 2003.

But her legacy to help women fight against cancer lives on. The Friends of Faith Brunch on Feb. 17 is a way for students to obtain preventative information and will stress the importance of regular self-exams and mammograms.

Turner said it's important for students to know they can get free mammograms and pap smears at the Tang Center.

Food, door prizes, and live jazz will be accompanied by speakers Darlene Ayers Johnson, executive director of Friends of Faith, Delores Moorhead spokesperson for the Women's Cancer Resource, Jackie Pugh from the American Cancer Society and Dr. Lora Burke, breast cancer surgeon from St. Lukes Hospital. Radio personality and Mills alumna Renel Brooks-Moon was scheduled to appear, but can't make it due to a prior family obligation.

Tickets are available in the Ethnic Studies department and are $15 for students. A limited number of discounted tickets are available for $5. If you can't make it to the Brunch donations are welcome and those interested can "come during the intermission to sample and purchase some great products from the participating artists or vendors, or they can spread the word!" Marshall said.

The Ethnic Studies department, Black Women's Collective, Women's Studies department, Student Diversity, Student Health, and the American Cancer Society will sponsor the event next week.