Ask anyone in America if they or someone they love has been affected by breast cancer, and the answer most likely will be yes. Community members in Liberty and Long counties have already either proclaimed a day dedicated to breast cancer awareness this month, or soon will.
In Liberty County, proclamations will be signed on Oct. 17, prior to Hinesville City Council and Liberty County Commission meetings. The city will hold a signing at 2:30 p.m. at City Hall, before the council’s regular 3 p.m. meeting. The county will hold a signing at 4:45 p.m., prior to its regular 5 p.m. Board of Commissioners meeting at the courthouse annex. The actual “Paint Liberty County Pink” day will be held Thursday, Oct. 24.
Kathy Villafane, a well-known local Realtor and chair of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, recently lost her sister to the disease.
“All I wanted to do was something simple to honor my sister Brenda Norris,” Villafane said. “Brenda was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer which metastasized throughout her body. I wanted to wear pink on Oct. 24 since she passed away on March 24. She was 3 months shy of her 63rd birthday and would have turned 63 on June 24. There has never been a family history of breast cancer and that is why it is so important that we take care of our bodies.”
Villafane said she reached out to Keep Liberty Beautiful executive director and immediate past chair of the chamber’s board, Karen Bell. Villafane said she explored the idea of asking people to donate at least $1 to Relay for Life and acquire kits to pass out to the public, reminding men and women about the importance of breast exams.
“Karen loved the idea and then I mentioned it to Leah Poole, who took it and ran with it,” Villafane said of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce/CVB CEO who also got involved with the breast cancer awareness campaign. Along with the chamber, other involved organizations include the Real Estate Resource Center, the City of Hinesville, the Liberty County Board of Commissioners, Liberty Regional Medical Center and Relay for Life.
“My sister would truly have been tickled pink to know what is happening. She loved Liberty County and was ready to move here. When she would visit we would go to the high school football games, she helped feed the hungry in Midway for Thanksgiving and she had the chance to meet the warm, loving, friendly people from the area.”
In addition to the proclamations, on Oct. 24, the Hinesville Farmers Market in downtown Hinesville will observe a “Pink Out” from 3-7 p.m.
The Ludowici City Council proclaimed Oct. 11 “Pink Out Friday” on Oct. 3, near the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The proclamation read in part, “Nationally over 246,000 women and men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year; and in 2019 breast cancer continues to be a common cause of cancer in the Southeast Georgia region…therefore, we are joining Southeast Georgia Health System, the Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia Affiliate, the American Cancer Society and communities across Southeast Georgia.”