PUBLISHED: 4:10 PM on Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Kake plans breast cancer walk at ANB/ANS Grand Camp
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and cancer has had a growing impact on Alaska Native communities. So the SEARHC Kake Health Promotion will host the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness on the last day of the Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp Convention. This event takes place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, and follows a short, flat course from the Kake Community Hall to Gunnuck Creek and back that is only a half-mile each way to make it accessible for elders and youth.

"This walk is a way to honor our people who have battled or are battling breast cancer, and to raise awareness of this disease that has affected all of our communities," said Georgie Reese, a SEARHC Community Wellness Advocate in Kake.

Reese said the walk will be held in memory of Debra Thomas, a cook at the Kake Senior Center and longtime teacher's aide at Kake Elementary School, who was 49 when she passed away in August after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. The walk also will honor all women (and some men) who have been diagnosed with the disease.

"The ANB Grand Camp encourages the women of our communities to utilize the mobile mammogram annually," said Dewey Skan, ANB Grand President. "Breast cancer has affected my family personally, as it has many families in our communities. We encourage everyone to take steps for early detection to protect yourselves and your families."

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and second-leading cause of cancer death (after lung cancer) among women. Early detection of breast cancer through regular breast self-exams, clinical breast exams and mammograms can increase the chances of long-term survival. All women are encouraged to get a complete annual health screening, which includes a heart health exam in addition to the breast exams.

The walk is open to all, including men and children. Participants are encouraged to wear pink or their Native regalia. The walk will be held even if it's raining, so bring raingear and umbrellas. Coffee and tea will be served after the walk.

For more information, contact Georgie Reese at 785-3260. For information on how to schedule annual women's health screenings, contact the SEARHC Kake Health Center at 785-3333 or the SEARHC Women's Health Program at 1-888-388-8782. For online information on the SEARHC Women's Health Program, which includes the Breast and Cervical Health Program and WISEWOMAN, go to