Local breast cancer survivors and their families and friends were invited to BJ’s and Emory Winship Cancer Institute’s Pink Picnic at the Conyers store on Thursday. The event’s highlight was WSB anchor and 14-year breast cancer survivor Monica Pearson, who shared her personal journey.
Pearson described her mother as a source of strength and direction. “She told me nobody came here to stay, so deal with it — her attempt at stoicism,” said Pearson, “Of course, she followed that with immediately getting down on her knees.” Her mother also encouraged her to use the platform she had been given. “I had so many viewers write to thank me…it was wonderful to see what I was going through was helping other people look at their health and save themselves,” said Pearson.
Ultimately, breast cancer taught Pearson to prioritize. “If I truly am a person of faith, then I’m not going to let negatives keep me from doing what I need to do and how I need to do it,” she said, “It was the best lesson I ever learned about taking care of me.”
Associate Director of Clinical Operations at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute Christine McCarthy spoke on research strides and answered many audience questions. “Different characteristics can be identified with therapies directed at these tiny targets, and we can go in and stop cancer in its tracks while leaving the rest of the body’s tissues intact,” she said, “We’re focusing on customized and tailored therapy.” The Winship Institute champions “translational research” where what’s developing in the labs upstairs goes from “bench to bedside” directly benefitting patients downstairs.
BJ’s Susie Meacham said the event was designed to give survivors “empowerment and information they can use.” In the last five years, BJ’s Wholesale Club has donated more than $1.8 million towards breast cancer research and treatment through the October sales of “Pink Ribbon” products.
For more information on Emory Winship Cancer Institute’s resources, visit www.emoryhealthcare.org/breast-health.