FORT IRWIN, Calif. — Weed Army Community Hospital hosted a Breast Cancer Awareness 5k Run/Walk and Community Health Fair Oct. 24 in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Capt. Megan Jensen, a clinical staff nurse, organized the event with the hospital’s Breast Cancer Awareness Committee.
“Weed Army Community Hospital hosts this event because [Fort Irwin and the National Training Center]’s health is important to us and we want to ensure all soldiers and their families have all the resources and education they need regarding education, screening, detection, and treatment for breast cancer,” she said.
Col. Nancy Parson, the WACH commander, spoke at the event about the importance of the observance.
“National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer, spread the word about mammograms and encourage community organizations, families and other to get involved,” she said.
Local organizations and programs from WACH set up booths at the event to share information and resources. One booth specifically highlighted male breast cancer.
“There are more than 2,000 men diagnosed with breast cancer each year,” Parson said to those who attended the event.
Several groups focused on physical activity gave out information to interested attendees.
Jensen coordinated the run/walk and community health fair based on what is done nationally in recognition of breast cancer awareness.
“A 5k walk/run has become a popularized tradition and thanks to the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s ‘Race for the Cure’ initiative,” Jensen said. “Additionally, physical exercise is shown to reduce risks of cancer, and Weed Army Community Hospital enjoys promoting physical activity and overall health for our soldiers and their families.”
To ensure physical distancing guidelines for coronavirus safety, walkers and runners separated into different waves that started one minute apart.
At the conclusion of the race, the top three youths, top three men, and top three women received first, second and third place trophies. However, the event was about more than winning.
Jensen said the event means a lot to her, personally.
“My mother passed away from cancer, my stepmother passed away from breast cancer, and my father currently has cancer,” Jensen said. “Cancer awareness of any kind is important to me, and as a healthcare provider I in turn want to share the resources and information that I have to help others.”
Parson also shared a personal story of a friend’s diagnosis with breast cancer and encouraged those who have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer to talk to their doctors.
“Please remember that breast cancer impacts families every day,” she said. “Not just during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”