Saturday, October 6, 2012

Painting The Town Pink

Here, in these gently rolling hills along the Housatonic River, which is called Connecticut's "Valley," Seymour has risen as an exemplary town for raising breast cancer awareness. The town is festooned with banners along streets commemorating those that have won and lost their battle with breast cancer. Throughout the entire month of October, the town holds events and fund-raising charities, which is why this movement is called: Seymour Pink.

This little enclave truly does paint the town pink. I participated in their annual Pounding The Pavement for Pink 5K race this morning. It was a perfect fall day to celebrate my four years as a survivor and rejoice with others that won their battle, too. I had the good fortune to meet a young school teacher who was 32 years old and pregnant when she got her diagnosis.  Wow, we come from all walks of life and all ages.

Connecticut has the second highest rate of breast cancer in the United States. Our neighboring state, Rhode Island, is number one. You've got to wonder why this disease runs so rampant in this pocket of New England and across the sound on Long Island.  Dr. Ott-Young, who practices both on Long Island and Connecticut, keeps seeing younger and younger patients every year. She is thoroughly convinced this spike in breast cancer is an environmental issue.

If only we knew what it was. This valley in Connecticut was once an industrial area producing ammunition and uniforms that helped the Yankees win the Civil War. After that, companies like BF Goodrich poured toxic waste into the Housatonic River, which makes me highly suspicious. My drinking water comes from that river. Who knows.

When I was participating in the Yale Hope Study, one of the technicians revealed that in other Yale cancer studies, The Valley showed a high correlation of both ovarian and breast cancer cases. In any event, at least I did my part this morning to help find a cure. Thanks to the town of Seymour, it has become a community goal.

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