By Chris Green
The American Cancer Society, in partnership with NEWorks Productions and Grove Church, hosted “Call to Action” a free gospel concert to increase cancer awareness and action within Portsmouth’s African American community. The event, the first of its kind in Portsmouth, drew a capacity crowd of 1500.
The Partnering for Life, Health and Wellness Tour – CALL TO ACTION – featured Gospel Recording Artist Jonathan Nelson, Patrick Lundy and the Ministers of Music and Gospel Recording Artist Shirley Murdock as well as local gospel violinist, Eric Taylor.
The combination of music and ministry was designed to address the well being of the African American community from a holistic perspective: mind, body and spirit. The concert served as a celebration of the newly appointed Community Health Advisors and Leadership Advisory Council, local volunteers who completed in-depth training to become a grassroots force to increase breast cancer awareness and screening among African American women in Portsmouth. The city has the highest breast cancer mortality rate out of the 35 health districts in Virginia. It’s all a part of the American Cancer Society’s Portsmouth Partnership to Beat Breast Cancer, made possible through a grant from the Walmart Foundation.
“This is a wonderful gathering and everyone is having a great time, but we are here for a serious cause. We must diligently fight to beat breast cancer and help men and women celebrate more birthdays,” says Chris Green, Vice President of Communications for the American Cancer Society. Portsmouth Mayor Kenneth Wright was also in attendance and is leading the charge to encourage Portsmouth residents to educate themselves about the disease.
He presented a proclamation last October declaring Breast Cancer Month in the city.
Portsmouth, Western Tidewater and Norfolk have the highest mortality rate from breast cancer among the 35 Virginia health districts. While African American and White women are diagnosed with breast cancer at the same rate, African American women have a 47percent higher death rate from the disease.
Portsmouth, Virginia is one of three cities to receive a $300,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to reduce breast cancer disparities among African American women, by increasing education, linking community resources and promoting access to low or no-cost breast cancer screenings.
Through collaboration with outreach organizations and community health advisors, the goal is to increase education to reinforce the importance of early detection and decrease the disparity among underserved populations in Portsmouth.
For more information about the Portsmouth Partnership to Beat Breast Cancer, please visit www.portsmouthbeatbreastcancer.org; or call 757-493-7943.