Moving forward with breast cancer awareness in the midst of COVID-19

Sister to Sister Fitness Festival
Sylvia Dunnavant Hines – Photo courtesy of Celebrate Life


Special to The Dallas Examiner


Breast cancer rates among Black women under the age of 60 are higher than White women in the same age group, but lower among Black women over 60. Death rates from breast cancer of both Black and White women have declined – especially among younger Black women – but are still 40% higher for Black women than White women, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sylvia Dunnavant Hines, the founder of the Celebrating Life Foundation, said those statistics should make everyone concerned and accountable for the impact that breast cancer is making in the African American community and among those that are medically underserved.

The Celebrating Life Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted to making breast cancer powerless by educating, encouraging and empowering those most impacted by the disease.

Each year, Hines hosts her annual Sister to Sister Fitness Festival 5k Walk/Run through her foundation to spread awareness about breast cancer and raise funds for research, as well as create a sisterhood for women battling cancer. This year, she feels that the 19th annual fitness festival will be more critical, in that it could help create a support system for women who may feel isolated from friends and loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it is important for people to know that breast cancer has not taken a break during COVID-19. Usually when people are undergoing cancer treatments they can connect with friends, family and church members. Over the last few months that has not been possible,” Hines stated. “We have found breast cancer patients that are going through treatment feeling distressed and even depressed as the result of the impact of COVID-19.”

Themed “We’re in this Together,” this year’s event will be held in honor of the memory of George Floyd. The walk/run will be held virtually, Oct 3 at 8:46 a.m., allowing participants to take part from wherever they feel comfortable.

Five-year breast cancer survivor, Natasha Renee Burse, will be the kickoff coach. She is 31 years old and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Behavior Health at Penn State University.

“I think that it is important to get to know your doctor and make sure your issues are addressed. Black women are more like to have an issue when it comes to their quality of care. You have to be an advocate for yourself when you are going through treatment,” said Burse, who relied on family members and her mom during her diagnosis.

Registration for the walk/run is available at For more information, call 214-475-0661.

Mammograms will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for women over the age of 40 who do not have health insurance. Participants must call 21-933-7200 to check requirements and schedule an appointment.


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