Oskaloosa.com

Local News

October 15, 2010

Walking for her: MHP’s breast cancer awareness walk sees high participation

OSKALOOSA — It impacts more families than some people realize and they’re here to make this known.

Mahaska Health Partnership held their annual Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness around the Oskaloosa city square over the noon hour Thursday.

Julie Hartke, Director of Radiology with MHP, said holding the annual walk for breast cancer awareness is important for several reasons. She said an event like this can cause more women to have regular mammograms done and can lead to better treatments and detection technology.

Another obvious reason to raise awareness of breast cancer can be found in how prevalent the disease is.

“It doesn’t discriminate by age or by family history,” said Hartke, who explained that breast cancer is the number two killer of women. “Three quarters of people that get it don’t have a family history of it. It affects so many women and so many families, so we like to have public events like this to kind of bring it to the forefront of everybody’s mind.”

This year’s MHP Breast Cancer Awareness Walk was the most successful in its history. More than 200 participants signed up to walk around the Oskaloosa square Thursday afternoon. Each participant donated $25 toward the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and received a T-shirt to further spread awareness of the disease. Those wearing the shirts also got a 20 percent discount at Smokey Row Thursday.

Many of those participating in the walk were groups of people from area businesses who took their lunch hour to walk for the cause. Many of those waking the square were also families of breast cancer survivors, breast cancer survivors themselves and the families of those currently fighting the disease.

Diane Broerman, of Oskaloosa, was one of those walking as a breast cancer survivor alongside several members of her family including her three daughters, mother-in-law and five grandchildren.

“They have been my main supporters,” Diane said.

Broerman was diagnosed with the disease in July of 2009 and said she was not as scared as some might think, given such a diagnosis.

“I thought, ‘let’s just get it taken care of,’” said Diane.

Diane’s daughter, Jamie Klyn, said her reaction to her mother’s diagnosis was a little different.

“I think I was little nervous about if she was going to be around for my children and be a part of their lives,” said Jamie. “But, I knew that she’d be fine and was in good hands.” 

Broerman finished chemotherapy this past December and radiation treatments in March.

Shirley Broerman, Diane’s mother-in-law, said she’s happy to see those of all ages participating in the MHP walk.

“I think it’s important for those in my generation on down,” said Shirley.

MHP’s awareness outreach didn’t end with Thursday’s walk around the city square.

A free-of-charge Women’s Breast Health Night will be held 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, at St. Mary’s Parish Center in Oskaloosa. The event, sponsored by the southeast Iowa affiliate for Komen for the Cure, will feature stories from three breast cancer survivors as told by the survivors themselves, as well as a panel discussion where these survivors will answer any questions about their journey with the disease.

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Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com

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