A Review: Breast Cancer Conquerors Presents-Brunch and Learn Fundraiser
On Saturday, June 23, 2018 at Workplay in Birmingham, AL Breast Cancer Conquerors, a local nonprofit organization, presented an event called the Brunch and Learn Fundraiser.
Breast Cancer Conquerors is an organization dedicated to spreading knowledge and awareness about breast cancer, all while raising money to help support cancer survivors and their families. The organization is also committed to raising money to donate to breast cancer research.
The propose of the Brunch and Learn Fundraiser was to spread awareness about breast cancer and help raise funds to donate to the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The event was a great success, selling out to the point of their being standing room only. Birmingham’s Workplay provided an intimate and sophisticated space for an event that was educational and inspiring.
Once entering the Brunch and Learn Fundraiser, guests were greeted by an array of vendors. Most vendors specialized in products of interest to women.
There were suppliers who sold clothing, make-up, jewelry, candles, bath products, and even wigs. With the many of the guests consisting of cancer survivors, families of survivors, or the bereaved, it was befitting that there were products readily available to make attendees feel beautiful and pampered.
Inside the main room, the lighting was low and romantic. Each table was dressed with white or pink tablecloths and topped with beautiful pink roses.
The homey smell of butter and sugar drifted through the air, as a young man with a guitar and a lovely voice sang uplifting timeless tunes.
There was an air of joy and anticipation as ladies and gentlemen dressed in eloquent pink, white, and blue made their way to their seats.
Dana “Lady Woo” Woodruff of the local radio station 95.7Jamz was the emcee at the event, but Brooke Horn was the master mind behind the entire ordeal.
Horn has worked tirelessly and passionately for months to ensure that each moment went off without a hitch. After an introduction, several guest speakers came in with a mutual message of peace, love, and hope.
Dawn Horne: The first speaker of the hour was Dawn Horne. Horne has worked extensively in the medical field but spoke in the perspective of an oncology nurse.
She explained the important role hope played in the healing of cancer. Before she closed, she explained at the last treatment of radiation how patients rang a bell in celebration. She asked survivors to stand, those going through treatment to stand, and the newly diagnosed to stand as well.
She rang a bell and declared victoriously, “You will win, you will win, you will win!” The audience erupted with applause.
Bridgett Peoples: Next up was breast cancer survivor Bridgett Peoples. Peoples was diagnosed at the young age of 39 and has gone through surgeries and treatments almost too numerous to name.
She took everyone to church with a speech titled, Farewell Fear. She named three ways to conquer fear when diagnosed with cancer, and each resonated the strong message of faith in God, a godly support system, and remembering who you are in Christ.
People shouted ‘amen’ throughout the very commanding message and Lady Woo joked that if she did not attend church Sunday it was because she received a word today.
Evangelist Peter A. Moss– The father of Horne blessed the brunch with a gorgeous prayer in which he uplifted the survivors and those still wrestling with the disease
Brunch: Brunch was catered by Panoptic Catering and each server was dressed appropriately with white shirts and pink bow ties.
There were smiles all around, as guest dinned on a variety of decadent breakfast fare. As invitees dined, a video played showing pictures and stories of survivors
Thelma Perry Brown: Thelma Perry Brown took the stage after everyone had been served and joked about being put on at the worst time. Brown is a two-time cancer survivor. She has been volunteering in the breast cancer community for years and works with the Susan G. Komen Foundation among many other things.
She works so diligently because her story is deeply personal. Not only did her mother and five sisters suffer from breast cancer, three of those sisters died from the disease.
Brown spoke about the black community and the reason breast cancer is one of the main causes of cancer related death in Alabama among African American women. She shared that black women are not only underserved, but least likely to volunteer for clinical trials, because of the history of black people being intentionally harmed pre-1950.
Brown championed bridging the gap and taking our health more seriously by demanding testing and participating in clinical trials.
Latesha Isbell Howard– Latesha Howard is a wife, a mother, a philanthropist, but most importantly a breast cancer survivor. She discovered she had a lump through self-examination, at only thirty-nine-years-old, only days away from Christmas.
Howard’s message was of positivity, believing with all your heart that you can defeat cancer. She explained that fear still does exist, but she conquers it with prayer and positive thought.
She urged all women to be an advocate of their health, because she was denied a mammogram because her doctor felt she was ‘too young’.
She gave a prevailing quote that will not soon be forgotten, “Get your mind and spirit right, and your body will obey.”
Timothy Ruffin: Timothy Ruffin is a soft spoken, yet astute young pastor from Nashville, TN. Ruffin who lost his own mother, spoke on how to survive without a loved one.
He realized though scripture that love was the only way to continue through life after facing death. He insisted that we love because Jesus was the ultimate example of love.
As the bible explains, while we were yet sinners Jesus gave his life for us on the cross. Like Jesus, we must love – love until we love our own hurt away.
Phaedra Parks: Phaedra Parks, best known for her role on the reality television show The Real Housewives of Atlanta, was the keynote speaker.
Parks who is an entertainment lawyer and holds a degree in Mortuary Science from Jefferson State located in Birmingham, spoke on the importance of women making time to take care of themselves.
She told a compelling story about her own experiences with death through her grandmother, and cancer through a close friend. She explained that women are pulled in different directions daily, because they wear so many hats (i.e mother, sister, employee, wife, friend), but explained that one can not pour from an empty cup. Parks stated women must take the time to have a mammogram and a pap smear, because their very lives depend on it.
She detailed her own experience with having a mammogram and her preconceived fear from hearing how much the procedure would hurt from friends and family. She was shocked and pleased to learn it was not as painful as it was exaggerated to be.
Parks expressed how happy she is she took that positive step in ensuring her kids and clients will have her around a little longer.
She ended with saying that cancer is a word and not a sentence, that cancer could be conquered, because in Christ we are more than conquerors.
JP Laffsum– The event ended on a high note with local comedian JP Laffsum.
She started motivationally, then ended with a very hilarious story about her trials as a school nurse.
The Break Down
The Brunch and Learn Fundraiser was a positive and informative event. Guest left with knowledge about the signs of breast cancer and predispositions for the disease.
Things to be mindful of include: dense breast tissue, nipple discharge, lumps, breast darkening, and breast pain.
Guests also learned that black woman have more aggressive and lethal forms of breast cancer, and that preventive measures like mammograms, healthy weight loss, and breastfeeding can drastically lower chances of dying from the disease.
Hopefully, all the money donated will drastically aid in getting the world closer to a cure and each man or woman fighting the battle will come out victors and conquerors.
This event, personally, was utterly life changing.
To view the video highlights of this event visit https://youtu.be/DIwzFalLkyA
Special Thanks to my partners at Access 205 for this beautiful opportunity. Follow them on all social media outlets @Access 205 for all the hottest entertainment in Birmingham, Alabama.
Photo Credit goes to Rod Jon of Access 205. Visit magiccityradar.wordpress.com to see more of his work or follow Magic City Radar on Facebook and Instagram
Special thanks to Brooke Horn for such an amazing event. Follow @BreastCancerConquerors for more information about the Breast Cancer Conquerors Organization and learn how you can help defeat breast cancer with your time or donations.