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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 21 June 2006

The sixth annual Block Walk and Community Wellness Festival will be on June 24 at the Rainier Beach Community Center, 8825 Rainier Ave. S.
The Cierra Sisters — an organization of Black women breast cancer survivors — hope to use the walk and festival to increase breast cancer awareness among African American women. The festivities begin with breast cancer survivors and other volunteers walking into surrounding neighborhoods and delivering health information packets and encouraging them to attend the wellness festival, which will offer free health screenings and more.
Free registration begins at 9 a.m.; the door-to-door walking begins at 10 a.m.; and the afternoon program starts at noon. Michael Hunter, M.D., from Evergreen Hospital, will be the keynote speaker.
"We want people to walk away from this block walk armed with a better understanding of what it's like when you're faced with life-threatening diseases, how to cope and what they can do to live a healthier life," said Bridgette Richardson, founder of the Cierra Sisters.
"The Cierra Sisters' mission is to close the gap in the disparities in health care provisions extended to African Americans and others who need strong advocacy."
Richardson is a breast cancer survivor who launched Cierra Sisters Inc. and the Block Walk in 1998, after her own improper diagnosis inspired her to take action. The organization's mission is to increase knowledge of breast cancer among African Americans and other underserved communities.
Statistics show that African Americans are at a high risk for getting cancer, yet their survival rate is lower than that of other groups. According to the American Cancer Society, African American women living in communities with high poverty rates are less likely to be screened for cervical cancer — even after adjusting for risk factors for non-screening, such as older age, lower educational attainment and smoking.
The American Lung Association reports Black men are 50 percent more likely to develop lung cancer and 36 percent more likely to die from the disease than White men.
There is no charge to attend the event. For more information, call 206-505-9194. Continental breakfast and refreshments provided.

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