Breast Cancer Awareness Month: First National Bank Joins Forces to Increase Awareness
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign organized by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure as well as to support those affected by it.
Chances are, you have either been personally impacted by breast cancer or know someone who has. According to breastcancer.org, it is estimated that more than 330,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. The risk isn’t limited to women either. An estimated 2,550 men will also be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Further, as of January 2018, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. which includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment. These statistics are staggering and clearly reinforce the need to increase awareness so that breast cancer can be prevented or detected early in order to treat it successfully.
The unfortunate truth is that not everyone in our communities has access to the quality healthcare they need in order to detect breast cancer in its early stages and treat it successfully. That is why First National Bank of Omaha is committed to raising breast cancer risk awareness and supporting organizations that are working to increase access to health care services, making life more comfortable for the ill, and those working to find a cure. This commitment is demonstrated through our community partnerships, our products, and our passionate employees.
Last year, we partnered with Medical Imaging Consultants to provide 40 free mammograms to underserved women in the Omaha area to commemorate national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year, we are partnering with Methodist Hospital to provide their new Mobile 3D Mammography unit to provide screenings for approximately 35 more women.
In 2016, we began inviting our customers to join forces with us in support of breast cancer awareness by offering the Pink Visa® Debit Card. To date, nearly 15,000 of our customers carry the card. Each time they use it, they are taking part in the fight to decrease breast cancer incidence rates through increased awareness, knowledge of preventative measures and access to healthcare. This year in October, each time they use their Pink card, they will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of two $2,500 donations that will be made on their behalf to a breast cancer organization in their community.
Perhaps the biggest impact we have on the fight against breast cancer comes from our very own employees who have been personally impacted by the disease. One example is Omaha employee, Cheryl Stevens, a 12 ½ year breast cancer survivor whose mission is to help bring smiles to the faces of others who are impacted by cancer.
When Cheryl first learned of her diagnosis, she was devastated. All she could focus on was dying, missing the lives of her family members and the unknown. Her treatment involved a double mastectomy and 6 months of chemotherapy which included 16 treatments. However, her outlook changed before her second treatment when her family, friends and coworkers threw her a ‘hat shower’ in order to help brighten her spirits. “You put a silly hat on and you have no choice but to laugh,” said Cheryl.
From that point on, Cheryl used the power of laughter to help ease discomfort for herself and others. She brought flamingo hats to one of her next treatments and handed them out to other patients in the clinic. She found that it really brightened the mood in the room. From then on, each treatment became a party. Cheryl would bring her friends and come dressed in costumes. They threw luaus and handed out leis. She even came as a biker babe and drank iced tea out of a whisky bottle.
This was the beginning of what is now called Flamingos for Hope (Friends Laughing, Achieving Miracles, Inspiring and Nurturing Gifts, Offering Smiles). Once a month, Cheryl and her Flamingos for Hope create silly hats and then visit the Methodist Eastbrook Cancer Center where they bring energy and inspiration in the form of treats, silly headwear and smiles to more than 200 patients who are still undergoing their cancer treatments as well as the caregivers, nurses, doctors and office staff. “I am passionate about giving people that chance to have a warm and fuzzy feeling during their treatment,” said Cheryl. “What began selfishly as a way for me to cope with my diagnosis and treatments has turned into a monthly mission to encourage cancer survivors, caregivers and staff with humor, laughter and smiles, to ‘be a live-er’ and to celebrate something every day! Click here to learn more about Flamingos for Hope.
Whether it’s through our community partnerships, our products, or our passionate employees, First National Bank remains committed to increasing breast cancer risk awareness as well as supporting those who are working to find a cure and improving the lives affected by it. This commitment is demonstrate throughout the month of October and each month throughout the year.