Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Paints The City Pink

Tallahassee Memorial Hospital has Breast Cancer Awareness Month covered.

Matt Sherer, an oncology service line administrator at TMH, has already started preparing for what he considers a respectable month.

“The biggest question is what are we not doing?” Sherer said.

Out of all the cancers TMH treats, Sherer said breast cancer is the No.1 cancer treated annually, which is why TMH is so involved with spreading awareness each October.

“Statistics show one of three women will get a cancer in their lifetime,” Sherer said. “In particular, one of eight will get breast cancer in their lifetime.”

This year TMH and the Tallahassee Democrat will title sponsor “Go Pink Day.”

“In part of our effort to support that, we’re doing a ‘paint it pink’ event,” Sherer said. “Cancer center staff, patients, physicians and family members have done paintings with pink ribbons tied to breast cancer and we will auction off their work for charity.”

Starting Friday, TMH will be displaying those paintings in the cancer center. People can come by and see them and also begin bidding online.

Mariann Blotsky, a 56-year-old Michigan native, has been leukemia-free for 17 years. He said he appreciates TMH’s effort.

“They work great with the community and get the job done,” Blotsky said. “They have plenty of events that give women advantages to go to the doctors that couldn’t otherwise.”

TMH is offering free yard signs and balloons to residents to promote breast cancer awareness. These items can be picked up from the cancer center or public relations office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sherer hopes this will encourage the community to go pink.

“I encourage the community to wear pink but also be aware of what that pink means,” Sherer said. “When someone asks, why are you wearing pink, share information with them about breast cancer awareness.”

Throughout October, TMH will have decorations throughout the building supporting breast cancer awareness. TMH will also be giving out pink cookies and lemonade. Patients and staff will be wearing pink bracelets and pink wigs. Patients at the Sharon Ewing Walker Breast Health Center can expect goodie bags filled with helpful information at their next visit.

“Tallahassee can expect information and education,” Sherer said.

Several physicians from TMH have agreed to do interviews with different media outlets to inform the public about breast cancer and screening. TMH will be teaming up with American Cancer Society for “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” in mid-October.  They will also be teaming up with Chrome Divas to give away a free mammogram to support local breast cancer patients.

“It’s important for women to do monthly self-breast exams and maintain good health because of their body,” Sherer said. “Women 40 and up are highly recommended to get an annual mammogram.”

Annual mammograms can help detect issues early. Sherer said women with a family history of breast cancer should start annual mammograms at the age of 35. TMH also has the only genetics clinic with a board-certified geneticist and genetic counselor.

“Most cancers are a treatable disease,” Sherer said. “Breast cancer is not a death sentence as it used to be many years ago. Two percent of breast cancers annually are actually found in men.”

TMH will help make men aware of their bodies and inform them how to support a diagnosed spouse.

Clifton Abraham, 22, a senior business administration student from Dallas, suggests everyone take part in the cause to fight breast cancer.

“Since my godmother was diagnosed, I have been informing others and participating in events,” Abraham said. “Any effort is adequate because it could be you.  Anyone can be diagnosed.”

The community and students can get involved and find out more information about TMH by visiting www.tmh.org