JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, "Sista Strut" kicked off the largest walk of its kind in Jacksonville to support women of color and bring awareness to the fact that African American women have a 41% higher death rate from the disease than their white counterparts
News4Jax is a proud sponsor of the 3K event held Saturday at Friendship Fountain where hundreds joined in the walk to support women of color and brighten the awareness about the issues of breast cancer.
The Sisters Network of Northeast Florida is striving to educate the community about the higher death rate for African American breast cancer patients and try to change those statistics by encouraging women of color to get tested for breast cancer.
Lena Jordan is a breast cancer survivor who took part in the event.
“There was nothing funny with what I went through, but I had to laugh to keep my sanity,” Jordan said.
She has been a breast cancer survivor for 19 years. Jordan said she found out she had cancer when she was in her 40s.
Studies show that African American women are more likely to get breast cancer at a younger age and have twice the death rate from breast cancer than Caucasian women of the same age.
Jordan said the message they are sending is simple but vital.
"Go and get a mammogram. Do not be afraid. A mammogram doesn't hurt, it helps," she said.
Jordan said she was persistent with her doctor to keep testing her when she felt a lump and knew something wasn't right.
She's now urging women to make it a priority to get checked. And for women already fighting breast cancer, Jordan hopes to inspire them with a book she just released.
"Fight, don't give up. There are going to be days that are hard really hard. And the faith that you have in the Lord, He will bring you through this. Don't be discouraged. Keep going and keep doing what your doctors tell you to do keep doing." Jordan said. "Whatever makes you feel better and (makes) you smile, what makes you want to get out of the bed in the morning, do that."
Men and women alike joined in the cause at Friendship Fountain in downtown Jacksonville and women were offered free mammograms while there.