Minority cancer awareness event set

Free cancer screenings, entertainment and food are all on tap for Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center’s seventh annual Fest for Life, a minority cancer awareness event set for Saturday, April 12.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bon Carre Business Center, 7173 Florida Boulevard.

Fest for Life is a free health event recognizing Minority Cancer Awareness Week and includes fun activities for the entire family. Free cancer screenings include breast, prostate, skin, colorectal and oral cavity, along with blood pressure and glucose checks. Mayor Kip Holden is honorary chairman of the event, which also includes free food, music and activities for kids.

“Although cancer affects men and women of every age, race, ethnic background and economic class, the disease has a disproportionate impact on minorities and the economically disadvantaged,” said Holden in a news release. “Raising awareness about this disturbing fact is a step toward saving lives. Early detection, through yearly screenings, and can help find cancer early before it has a chance to spread, increasing the odds of successful treatment.”

Since Fest for Life’s inception in 2008, approximately 3,000 people have been screened for cancer at the one-day event, organziers said, adding that 87 percent of those screened belonged to minority populations.

“Through our community partnerships and with the support of our sponsors we are able to directly impact the health and wellbeing of many people in our community,” said Johnnay Benjamin, director of early detection and education for Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. “This is a true collaborative effort that lessens the burden of cancer and potentially saves lives.”

All screenings are available to those who do not have a doctor and who have not been screened for cancer in the past year, as well as for people who do not have insurance or are considered underinsured. Appointments are required for breast cancer screenings only. To make an appointment, call (225) 215-1234 or (888) 616-4687.

Fest for Life is sponsored in part by Karnival Krewe de Louisiane, 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge, Amerigroup, Associated Grocers, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Baton Rouge State Fair Association, Bluebell Creameries, Capitol City produce, Cox Communications, ExxonMobil Baton Rouge, Papa Murphy’s, Allied Waste Services, Communities of Color Network - Southern University Ag Center, USAgencies, Whole Foods Market, Flowers Baking Co., Avita Pharmacy, Capital City Grill, Shedrick Fields and Friends, AmeriHealth Caritas, Unique Creations Therapeutic Day Spa LLC, M. Celeste Francois, Britney and Collis Temple, III, Todd and Shelia Sterling, Morise and Renea Duffin, John F. Smith, and Full Circle Communications.

For additional information about this event and other upcoming screenings, visit mbpolol.org.