With pink and green designs and pearls, members of Alpha Sorpa Alpha Kappa on Saturday morning had tables in the parking lot of the Kansas City Department of Health, which greeted visitors for free 3D mammograms and breast cancer screenings. in the Mobile Mammography Unit.
“My sister, she volunteered for me,” Linda Swayne said laughing, as she sat under a tent in the rain waiting her turn. “I am 60 years older. It’s been too long. “
Her sister, Rhonda Harris, a member of AKA, a service-oriented black brotherhood, said the goal is for “at least 100,000 women (by 2022) to be breast cancer, and especially in the African American community. Because so many times we ignore what we really have to do until it’s too late. “
Since 2019, AKA’s mobile health unit, like a tourist bus adorned with a large pink breast cancer ribbon and Alpha Kappa Alpha in green letters, has been traveling the United States. This weekend marked its first stops in the Kansas City metropolitan area, Friday at The New Bethel Church in Kansas City, Kansas, and Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri.
“At Alpha Kappa Alpha, we are very interested in women’s health and well-being,” said Tanesha Thompson, Midwest region representative for AKA service projects. “And we know that early detection, education and awareness are key to having a better outcome.”
Thompson added: “We know that people who are unrepresented, uninsured or uninsured don’t always have that opportunity. That’s why our mobile unit is so important.”
Third District Councilor Melissa Robinson, AKA Midwest Regional Director Twyla Woods Buford and Fifth District Councilor Ryana Parks-Shaw visited the mobile unit on Saturday.
Kansas City Council members passed by here, including AKA members Melissa Robinson, who represents the third district, and Ryana Parks-Shaw, who represents the fifth district.
“I have a personal experience where my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and is now a six-year survivor,” Parks-Shaw said. “So we know early detection saves lives.”
Robinson said the coronavirus pandemic highlighted health disparities for people of color, including the impact of lack of insurance and lack of follow-up care.
“African American women are two and a half times more likely to have breast cancer compared to other women,” Robinson said. “And so, when we examine the cultural components, we just make sure we meet the people where they are.”
Despite the rainy weather, visitors spent Saturday at the AKA mobile unit for scheduled appointments and excursions for screenings and mammograms.
The mobile unit was open to people 40 years of age or older who had not yet had a mammogram this year and had no health insurance. Other cancer tests were also done, as well as tests and vaccines against COVID-19.
“Many in our community don’t have access to adequate health care,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, who wore a pink tie with a tilt gesture in the colors of the AKA, “especially in some of our Kansas City zip codes that have the lowest life expectancy. ”
Direct dissemination, Lucas said, was key, as well as “making sure you’re very strong, up front, that the pink and green bus will make sure people know this is an opportunity for them.”