October 12, 2009

JDC and Komen Second Annual Race for the Cure in Bosnia and Herzegovina

On October 3rd, 2009, JDC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure held the Second Annual Race for the Cure in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sponsored by JDC's Women's Health Empowerment Program (WHEP) and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, this year’s Race was an opportunity to celebrate life, to walk together and spread awareness about breast cancer in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The community had the opportunity to rejoice with breast cancer survivors and honor those who have lost their battle with the disease.

Video by Jennifer Jensen, Susan G. Komen for the Cure

The first Race for the Cure, honoring Susan G. Komen’s 25th RFTC Anniversary, was held in October 2008 with over 2,500 people participating. The Race was covered by all media outlets, and helped to raise awareness and to openly discuss this issue. All proceeds from the Race have provided more than 600 free mammogram checkups for women with no health insurance.

Video from the First Annual Race for the Cure in Sarajevo


About WHEP:
In Bosnia and Herzegovina breast cancer is the most common illness affecting women, with one in nine women newly diagnosed annually; each year 500 women’s lives are claimed by the disease. Breast cancer is also among the leading causes of mortality in Hungary, where over 2,000 victims are killed by the disease every year. In Russia, 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and another 25,000 women are killed by it. The current healthcare systems in each of these countries are unable to cope with the scale of what they see as a cancer epidemic in the country.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary and Russia women are scared of talking about breast cancer because there is an overall lack of general knowledge, information about prevention measures, and counseling skills among health care providers. Many women refuse to undertake regular breast screenings, and often contact their doctor only when the illness is in an advanced stage.

The Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP) is an innovative public education movement that conducts public education programs to encourage the early detection of breast cancer, as well as projects that create new psychosocial support services by and for women with breast cancer and their families. WHEP projects utilize a peer-support model (developed by Self Help for Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer) in which breast cancer survivors serve as models of survivorship, demonstrating that there is life after breast cancer and that opportunities exist for cancer survivors to develop programs to help themselves and others similarly diagnosed. The expertise, knowledge and lessons learned through this program have vastly helped to improve the quality of life for women living with the disease.

Working with local Non-Governmental Organizations and Government partners, these projects build leadership among women affected by breast cancer. They also focus on strengthening doctor-patient communication, and creating partnerships between and among patients and the medical and health communities. These projects serve to educate women about the importance of early detection and treatment, provide women and their families with a support network, and empower them to lobby for their interests and communicate with their service providers to receive better care.

No comments: