EASTON — Shades of pink hover over the month of October each year, offering a nudging reminder that the threat of breast cancer has not dwindled and much more needs to be done to curb its persistence.
It’s a message especially important to the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health in Easton, which on Thursday, Oct. 3, kicked off its observance of breast cancer awareness month with a pink ribbon hanging and tree lighting, and in-house $10 pink hair extension event.
The hair extensions were provided by local stylist Penny Metje of Headrush180 Salon, and all the proceeds went directly to the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center at Shore Health.
Metje said her salon has been providing pink hair extensions to raise funds and breast cancer awareness every October since 2009.
She said the most important takeaway from the extensions is informing or reminding people of how common breast cancer is among men and women.
Plus, it’s a way to start an educational conversation that might not otherwise take place, she said.
“For every one that we put in, it’s a reminder or a conversation starter about (breast cancer),” Metje said. “We have people who come every year to the salon and they do it with their whole family, and it’s just an annual thing for them.”
Metje sat in the waiting area of the Breast Center at Shore Health from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., raising more than $200 in the first few hours.
But she said that was only the beginning of her salon’s pink hair fundraising efforts, which will continue throughout the month and will be available every day at Headrush180 Salon on North Aurora Street in Easton.
Following the hair highlighting event on Thursday, UM Shore Medical Center on Washington Street in Easton welcomed the public to view a lighting ceremony of a pink ribbon-adorned tree.
Clark Comprehensive Breast Center Medical Director Dr. Roberta Lilly spoke during the ceremony, saying the Breast Center sees 2,500 patients annually, with a surge of people coming in for mammograms in October each year.
“It’s important to take time during the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to reflect on those whose lives have been affected by Breast Cancer,” Lilly said. “We all know someone who has been affected by it, if we haven’t been directly affected by it ourselves.”
She reminded those in attendance that getting an annual mammogram and facilitating early detection is “key to surviving.”
Upcoming breast cancer awareness events at Shore Health include:
• Free genetic counseling: Wednesday, Oct. 23, Cancer Center. Appointment is required; call 410-820-9400.
• Genetics Lunch and Learn: Noon, Wednesday, Oct. 16. Cancer Center Conference Room. Katie Bisordi, certified genetics counselor for University of Maryland at Baltimore, will speak on genetics and breast cancer. For more informationt, contact Jeanie Scott, 410-822-1000, ext. 5098.
• Breast cancer outreach: To provide information about breast cancer prevention and resources for diagnosis, treatment and support, Outreach Coordinator Catalina Billings will visit primary care and women’s care medical practices as well as community health care settings throughout the five-county region, as follows: Talbot County on Mondays, Oct. 7 and 14; Dorchester County on Thursday, Oct. 10; Kent and Queen Anne’s counties on Tuesday, Oct. 15; and Caroline County on Monday, Oct. 21. To learn more about specific locations for these visits, call Billings at 410-820-9400, ext. 7154.