With Thanksgiving coming, I am reminded once again of the things we so often take for granted and even complain about. I am very grateful that I have access to a standard of healthcare (yes, even during my Peace Corps service) that many in this world cannot even imagine.
Many people’s lives have been touched by breast cancer in some way. In all likelihood, you have either been diagnosed yourself, have lost a family member, friend or coworker or know someone who is fortunate enough to call herself a survivor.
Breast cancer is now the number one killer of women between the ages of 35 and 55 in Kenya. It strikes one in nine women in the country, killing many of them due to late diagnosis. In 2011, breast cancer claimed the life of one of Kenya’s national treasures, Nobel Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai. In 2012, Kenya’s own Health Minister flew to the United States to undergo breast cancer surgery, an option impossible for most women here.
Because most women do not have access to treatment for advanced stages of breast cancer, early detection is critical. This can only be achieved if women and girls are encouraged to perform routine self-examination.
These paintings, created by Kenyan artists, incorporate a Breast Cancer Awareness postage stamp issued in Kenya in 2008. By purchasing one, you can help to fund a project to produce public health education materials. Posters placed in health clinics, and Community Health Workers armed with pamphlets, will ensure that women and girls are taught the proper method for detecting lumps and other abnormalities before it’s too late.
A dear friend, Lois Alter Mark, has agreed to help us by promoting the project on her website stylesubstancesoul and handling the sales transactions. To appreciate, and hopefully purchase one of, these unique paintings go to http://stylesubstancesoul.com/2012/10/were-selling-paintings-by-african-artists-to-raise-money-for-breast-cancer-awareness-in-kenya/
Please join me in thanking the artists, all of whom I am pleased to call my friends, for making this possible. Edward Orato, Jairo Okoth, George Omondi Odongo, Erick Ayoti Omurwa and Victor Nyambok helped to realize my vision for this project and agreed to accept fair market value for their paintings, understanding that their work would be sold for significantly more money, with the proceeds funding a breast cancer awareness campaign. I think you’ll agree, they’re spectacular.
This project was inspired my Mom, my sister Meredith and my dear friends Leslyn and Margaret who have faced cancer with amazing strength and my great aunt Jean who died of breast cancer many years ago when survival rates in America were not nearly as promising as they are today.