Residents of the City of South Milwaukee were seeing Pink all over town on Tuesday, October 19, when the community was decorated in Pink to support the fight against breast cancer.
October is national breast cancer awareness month. Throughout the day, city agencies, schools, and businesses decorated their stores, draped pink ribbons around signs, and held a variety of activities to raise dollars for the Susan G. Komen Foundation , and to increase public awareness of the impact of breast cancer.
James Shelenske, City Clerk for the City of South Milwaukee, said the project was the brain child of local Police Chief Ann Wellens.
“It started when Police Chief Ann Wellens ask Mayor Tom Zepecki if he would support a city wide effort to support breast cancer awareness,” Shelenske explained. ”He agreed that it would be a good community event. From there Police Chief Wellens with the help of the health department and myself, promoted it to other business and the schools. “
Among city leaders, businesses, and agencies that supported the project were Milwaukee County Supervisor Pat Jursik and office staff, Anchor Personal Fitness Training, Bucyrus International, Franciscan Villa, Parkway Floral, PyraMax Bank, Tri-City National Bank, the Women’s Club, the South Milwaukee Fire Association, and city departments: City Hall Administration, City Clerk’s Office, City Treasurer’s Office, the Health Department, the Water Filtration Plant, te Street Department, the Police Department, the Library, Chester W. Grobschmidt Senior Center, the Fire Department, and the Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Jennifer Sielaff works for the School District of South Milwaukee and coordinated Go Pink activities for all area schools. In the morning, Lakeview school released a cloud of pink balloons in memory of women afflicted by breast cancer, while the high school held a pot-luck dinner hosted by the first-ever, Staff Homecoming Queen Collette Kimber, and King Joe Giera. Rawson School held a Penny drive. Pin, ribbon, and T-shirt sales were held at other schools and agencies to help raise money for research. In the evening, the money raised was presented to a representative from the Susan G. Komen Foundation at the Common Council meeting. Everyone was wearing Pink.
According to a report published in 2009 by the Komen Milwaukee Affiliate, the age-adjusted incidence of breast cancer in Milwaukee is approximately 129 women out of every 100,000. Of those diagnosed cases, Milwaukee has the highest number of deaths in the Southeastern region, followed by Waukesha and Racine.
The Komen Milwaukee Affiliate Community Profile reported 49% of women living in Milwaukee County ages 40 to 49 did not receive a mammogram in the previous year. Women age 50 and over, 37% did not receive a mammogram in the previous year. The Healthy People 2010 goal was for 70% of women aged 40 and over to have had a mammogram in the previous year.
Every woman is at risk for breast cancer. But found early, breast cancer is treatable. Increasing awareness of the importance of early preventive screenings like mammograms, together with treatment resources available through various agencies like the Wisconsin Well Woman Program, can help to reduce the devastating effects of breast cancer for women, their families, and their communities.
For information on the Wisconsin Well Woman Program in Milwaukee, contact Lisa Phillips, Program Coordinator, at 414-286-8891.