Praise is the Cure® was created 7 years ago by Anita T. Conner, a 14-year breast cancer survivor, and is presented by the nonprofit she established, The George E. Thorne Development Center. Conner noticed the disparity in early diagnosis and survival rates among African Americans. She felt special programs were needed to spread awareness about the disease in order to save lives. Praise is the Cure reaches out in a way in which African Americans and the general public can relate.
Praise Sunday is offered in more than 100 churches and worship centers across the Delaware Valley on September 30 and a free health fair and gospel concert takes place on Saturday, Oct, 6.
All of this is preceded, today, by the free Maddie Movement, a Children’s Festival at the Abington YMCA located at 1073 Old York Road. From 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., there will be face painting, games, and appearances by Jazzy the Clown and a balloon artist, as well as other activities for children of all ages. High school students, for example, will read from the book, My Mommy Has Breast Cancer, But She’s Okay written by Conner’s daughter Kerri M. Conner Matchett.
Matchett knows the concerns of children first-hand, both as a daughter and cancer survivor. She started the Maddie Movement to make champions out of children in the fight against breast cancer. She says, “The Maddie Movement is an education awareness program, inspiring young children and their families to never give up despite what life throws their way.”
Maddie, the book’s protagonist, has a mother with breast cancer but the crisis really could have been anything from the loss of a job to depression or any other sickness. “In a time when children are faced with so many obstacles,” Matchett adds,” I felt they needed something to encourage them to hang in there and fight. To never give up, that is what the Maddie Movement is all about.”
A 2nd free children’s festival takes place Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 4:00 p.m. in the Columbia North YMCA located at 1400 Broad Street in Philadelphia. The week closes with the free health fair from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6. It provides mammograms, other health screenings, and wellness workshops. Light refreshments will be served. Breast cancer patients and survivors can register to join the Pampering Party from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Men can join the forum Real Men Wear Pink—Taking Care of Others and Yourself from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Annual Benefit Gospel Extravaganza follows at 6:30 p.m. featuring an opening procession of about 300 cancer patients and survivors and a special performance by the Straight to the Point! dance company. Also, among other choirs, the concert debuts the Survivor Choir…Voices of Praise. The Mount Airy Church of God in Christ hosts the gospel extravaganza and health fair at 6401 Ogontz Avenue in northwest Philadelphia.
“Breast cancer affects everyone,” explains Conners, “the patients and survivors, their families, their friends and their communities. Praise is the Cure® Week of Hope, Health, & Healing is a family event with the goal of preventing ‘victims,’ creating more ‘survivors,’ and educating families on how to deal with breast cancer.”
Since its inception, Praise is the Cure® has reached more than 100,000 Greater Philadelphia residents and has raised more than $200,000 to support year-round outreach efforts. To sponsor, donate, or register for Praise is the Cure®, visit www.praiseisthecure.org or call 215.635.1025.
All rights to this article are reserved by Gloria Blakely. Copyright 2012.