October 1 marked the first day of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In Rhode Island, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed and second deadliest form of cancer among women. One out of every six Rhode Island women will be diagnosed with the disease during her lifetime.
On Tuesday morning, the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation was joined by people from the community, as well as the state’s executive officials and local leaders at a press conference unveiling of its Starfish Project, the non-profit’s largest healing arts program to date. The seven-panel art installation comprises 5,000 clay starfish that were handmade by individuals affected by breast cancer – patients, survivors, family members, friends, and medical caregivers – and will be on display indefinitely at the Providence Place Mall’s Skybridge.
“I was pleased to join Secretary Mollis, Attorney General Kilmartin, and Mayors Diossa, Fung and Taveras to kick off October as National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and thank the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation for their continued efforts to bring attention to this disease,” said Mayor Scott Avedisian. “Recognizing how important early detection can be, the city of Warwick allows its employees four hours per year for cancer screenings.”
At the press conference, Eileen Howard Boone, CVS Caremark senior vice president of corporate philanthropy and social responsibility, announced the continuation of a partnership with the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation to expand outreach to Rhode Island’s underserved communities, beginning with a Hope Bus visit to CVS/Pharmacy’s Cass Avenue store location in Woonsocket on Oct. 15. Additionally, Howard Boone indicated the support of additional community outreach workers for the Hope Bus through funds raised at this year’s CVS Caremark Charity Classic golf tournament.
Howard Boone, also the president of CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, said, “We have been honored to support the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation through a grant for its Hope Bus outreach program to ensure that people have access to the necessary screenings, resources and health services related to breast cancer prevention and treatment.”
Avedisian added, “I urge our employees, and all citizens, to take time during the month of October to go for cancer screenings. It’s a simple step that could make an enormous difference.”
Tuesday’s press conference concluded with an announcement of the Oct. 11-13 Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life™, the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation’s annual three-day event that promotes breast cancer awareness and education and honors people living with breast cancer. Now in its eighth year, the event has grown into one of the largest of its kind in the Northeast and will take place in Downtown Providence’s Station Park.
On Friday, Oct. 11, the event kicks off with the unveiling of the Foundation’s annual “Celebrate Hope, Celebrate Life” Calendar at a special evening ceremony.
On Saturday, Oct. 12, “Celebration Village” at Station Park will come alive at 3 p.m. with education, support, live entertainment and food. That evening, the captivating Illuminations of Life Ceremony will take place on the State House steps facing downtown Providence, concluding with a torch procession – considered to be the pinnacle of the three-day event – down to the Waterplace Basin during WaterFire Providence.
The celebration will conclude on Sunday with the Flames of Hope Run/Walk Series, made up of four races: A new Gloria Gemma 10K, the annual Gloria Gemma 5K, a new Kids Fun Run, and the Pink Pump Palooza. Registration is open today at www.flamesofhopeseries.org.
For more information and the complete schedule of the Oct. 11-13 Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life™, visit www.flamesofhoperi.com and www.facebook.com/GloriaGemma.