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Community coalition promotes awareness of cancer

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    The panelists and committee members who hosted the Pink & Blue Affair. Front row: the women of the breast cancer awareness panel, left to right: Gladys Jones, Shirlee Medlock, Angela Organ, Dr. Monica Rocco, Jaqueline Pleasant. Back row: the men of the prostate cancer awareness panel, left to right: Flynn Lee, Mical Roy, Leny Dingle, Dr. Jeff Hutchinson, Rodney Crain, Kenneth D. Thompson Sr., Dr. Sanford Jeames. Far right: Sherri Richardson and Dr. Patricia A. Alford. Photos courtesy of Sherri Richardson
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    Tresha Silva hands out information from the African American Alliance of Health.
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    Health-related organizations, such as Health and Human Services, provide information at the event.
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The Elgin Community Health Affair, featuring The Pink & Blue Affair, kicked off last month on October 23.

Based on feedback, the city of Elgin and surrounding communities couldn’t be more pleased. Network Weavers and other coalitions did their part to ensure that networking occurred, which was necessary to pull off an event of this magnitude.

The first of its kind, the Pink & Blue Affair, coordinated by Dr. Patricia A. Alford, Mical Roy, and Sherri Richardson, was held Saturday, October 23, at the Elgin Recreation Center. With board-certified doctors, Monica Rocco, MD, FACS, and Jeff Hutchinson, MD, COL (Ret), the event was filled with unique insight and professional viewpoints related to breast and prostate cancer awareness, early detection, and the importance of maintaining health of the black community. In addition, several local and national organizations set up booths, and the event consisted of a Women’s Breast Cancer Awareness Panel, where Jaque Pleasant, Gladys Jones, Shirlee Medlock, and Angela Organ were panelists of survivors or caregivers. In addition, a Men’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Panel consisted of survivors Mical Roy, Rodney Crain, Leny Dingle, Flynn Lee, and patient health advocate and educator Sanford Jeames, Ph.D. The event was led by Kenneth D. Thompson Sr. & Carol Spence, serving as Master and Mistress of Ceremony and facilitators.

The Pink & Blue Affair fulfilled its purpose of engaging the community in a conversation on the importance of breast and prostate cancer awareness. More than anything, it is important to share family history with all family members so that we are better informed and equipped to navigate routine health and any additional needs and concerns. As a result, we create a better understanding of the health challenges that have affected those we love. During the prostate cancer dialogue, Dr. Rocco mentioned to attendees that Thanksgiving would be a perfect opportunity, when gathered around the table, to discuss family history amongst older and younger family members. This approach is integral because all too often, we know that underserved black and brown populations are not as open to crucial conversations such as these. Due to this, the committee and all organizers remain dedicated to leading the ongoing efforts toward continuing dialogue.

Future forums are being organized to ensure that safe spaces are made available for fostering more discussions related to the way we view our health and the health of those we know and love. Committee organizers may be reached at