As America takes note of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, there are many generous folks in Washington County who help by living their lives by this quote from Mother Teresa:
"We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love."
Quilts for comfort
SHARON BOPP The Marietta Times
Judy Adams, 69, of Waterford works on one of 25 quilts Tuesday that she plans to complete this year. Her quilts are donated to women diagnosed with breast cancer in Washington County and across the state.
One helping hand for those with breast cancer comes from Judy Adams, 69, of Waterford who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 and received treatments at James Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus.
Interested in quilting, she joined the center's James Stitching Sisters quilting group four years later.
"I feel very fortunate to be a survivor and I love to quilt," Adams said. "I feel it's my calling, that I should do something to help those who have gone down the path I went on."
At a glance
In Washington County, on average, every year 45 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and 13 women will die of breast cancer annually.
The five-year relative survival rate is 98 percent for breast cancer found early, such as with a mammogram.
Only five to 10 percent of breast cancer cases are hereditary and result from genetic mutations.
While some risk factors can't be modified, the risk of breast cancer can be reduced by maintaining a healthy body weight, being physically active five days a week, moderating alcohol intake and talking to a doctor about post-menopausal hormone therapy which can increase risk of breast cancer if used for several years.
Source: American Cancer Society, East Central Division.
The James Stitching Sisters have distributed hundreds of quilts.
"They're given out as people come to the center for their first chemo treatment," said Adams.
Adams has also made quilts for area women with breast cancer.
"It's a very, very rewarding feeling meeting them, getting to hug them, getting a thank you from them," she said.
Two of Adams' favorite quilt patterns are "between friends" and "woven ribbons." She uses a variety of fabrics, some from the ends of donated bolts.
Each quilt takes two full days to make, from the time Adams lays out and cuts the fabric, sews the fabrics together and does the quilting.
By the end of this year, Adams hopes to make and donate 25 quilts for those diagnosed with breast cancer.
A second helping hand for an area woman with breast cancer has come from her co- workers at the city of Marietta's water treatment plant.
Ila Cox, 60, of Marietta, an office records specialist at the plant, was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2011. On Oct. 8, she will undergo a second cancer-related surgery at James Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus.
Cox had no sick days left to cover the month she is expected to be off work.
Her co-worker Jim Rogers, 61, of Fleming had plenty of sick days-and the city of Marietta allowed him to donate those sick days to Cox. Rogers would have lost the sick days when he retires later this year.
"It was a win-win for both of us," said Rogers. "I want her to be able to have peace of mind."
Many of Cox's fellow workers at the water treatment plant have also volunteered to give their sick days to her.
"I work with the greatest bunch of guys," said Cox. "The support I've felt from the city the whole time was overwhelming."
Students lend a hand
County high school students will lend a helping hand to those with breast cancer this month, too.
The National Football League's fourth annual "Crucial Catch" breast cancer screening campaign will be promoted by members of the American Cancer Society Teen Board of Washington County and four local school districts.
"'Crucial Catch' is new here locally," said Chad Gardner, income development representative for the American Cancer Society. "We're bringing it down to the high school level. We're trying to spread awareness about breast cancer and how the American Cancer Society is fighting to end that."
At the football games, Teen Board students will distribute American Cancer Society pamphlets on mammograms, information and support for those diagnosed with breast cancer, and a breast cancer health card.
Students will also hand out fabric pink ribbons they assembled and sell breast cancer awareness T-shirts.
Available in black or pink, T-shirts have a breast cancer ribbon and words like "survivor," "cure" and "ribbons" on the front. The reverse has the saying "Supporting the fighters, admiring the survivors, honoring the taken and never ever give up hope."
T-shirts will sell for $15 each and are available in children's sizes small to large and adult sizes small to 3X. They can be pre-ordered by calling 888-227-6446, Ext. 3210 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Money raised at the four local football games will go to the "Crucial Catch" campaign and then be distributed locally to be used for breast cancer research and information on early detection and prevention, Gardner said.
Local "Crucial Catch" football game dates are: Southern at Waterford, Oct. 12; Shenandoah at Fort Frye, Oct. 19; and Logan at Warren, Oct. 26. The Friday Caldwell at Frontier game was also a "Crucial Catch" game.
The American Cancer Society Teen Board of Washington County is a "group of high school students from county school districts who are interested in joining the fight against cancer through the American Cancer Society," Gardner said.
Members meet monthly, with a focus on the "Crucial Catch" football games, "Coaches vs. Cancer" basketball games that will be held in early 2013 and May's Relay for Life of Washington County event.