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‘Think Pink’ event raises breast cancer awareness

Ironically, Jennifer Jackson, organizer for Thursday night’sThink Pink event held at the First United Methodist MinistryCenter, stood on stage admitting to a crowd that she too was asurvivor.

It was this time last year that she heard the words, “you havecancer,” making her no longer just a breast cancer awarenessadvocate but also a surviving sister of the disease.

Jackson and guest speaker, Alicia Clark, were present to bringawareness to the audience that “early detection is key” in beatingbreast cancer.

“The sooner you find breast cancer, the better options youhave,” Jackson said.

Jackson was lucky to be one survivor who was spared bothchemotherapy and radiation.

Clark was not so lucky.

Clark, a preacher’s wife from Hattiesburg, shared detailedmoments from her cancer fight. Those included surpassing theinitial shock of finding out her bad news to rejoicing over lifedespite hair loss.

” I can do this as long as you’re with me,” said Clark inrecalling her silent address to God while lying on a table as herhusband and medical experts surrounded her while laying their handson her in a compassionate prayerful moment.

Prior to this moment of shock, Clark stood in a state of denialwith her radiologist.

“You’ve got the wrong person. I don’t have cancer,” she saidaloud.

While walking in 2005, Clark discovered a lump in herbreast.

Though Clark intentionally decided to get a lumpectomy, sheended up choosing a double mastectomy after finding another lump inher opposite and undiagnosed breast.

“(I’m) living proof that cancer is beatable,” she told Thursdaynight’s audience of about 100 people.

Clark even went into detail about her self-esteem struggle withlosing her hair, her “trademark,” as she called it. She admittedthat losing her hair was not as big of a deal as she thought it wasgoing to be.

She found strength to overcome her life/death situation throughthe hope and compassion found in her faithful, supportive, lovingfriends and family.

One friend shared the stretcher bearer ministry that wasinspired from the Carol Kent book “When I Lay My Isaac Down:Unshakeable Faith in Unthinkable Situations.”

She said she knew that people were there “standing in the gap”for her in the family ready to catch them if they should fall. Andher overall experience “deepened her faith,” she said.

“All you really need is God,” she said.

“God saw my tears … knew my pain. He was not going to leave meto walk through this by myself,” Clark said to her audience.

After Clark’s testimony, Jackson returned to the stage to shareKing’s Daughters Medical Center technological advancement. Themedical center now houses the Dilon camera that can take a pictureof masses as small as three millimeters and can even take picturesof lesions and through dense tissue.

An eight-member panel, made up of medical professionals, cancersurvivors and others, was present to answer the crowd’s variousquestions, share advice and give their general knowledge on thesubject matter. Among door prizes and refreshments, Sue Arrington’shats were on display and a breast cancer risk assessment survey wasmade available by KDMC’s Merida Johnson.