Early detection of breast cancer saves lives. Fact. And a group of California women have embarked on a touching mission to educate, promote and raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness in a unique way.
They have put together a specialized California Pink Ribbon License Plate to go on vehicles across the state with all proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Control Account which funds the Every Woman Counts (EWC) program.
EWC is administered by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and provides free clinical breast exams and mammograms to California’s underserved women.
Chere Rush, Heather McCullough, Deborah Bordeau, Carla Kimball and Heather Solari are all breast cancer survivors who wanted to be active in helping other women get the practical assistance, education and support they need.
The campaign needs 7,500 pre-orders of pink plates to get the campaign moving forward.
The mission of the EWC is to save lives by preventing and reducing the devastating effects of cancer for Californians through education, early detection, diagnosis, and integrated preventive services, with special emphasis on the underserved.
We know that early detection is critical in treating breast cancer and increasing survival rates. Money generated from the California Pink Ribbon License Plate will allow more women across California to get regular breast exams and mammograms, potentially saving the lives of countless women.
BellaLAMag.com spoke to some of the ladies to hear about their own touching stories and why they put together the Pink Plate campaign.
Chere Rush: At age 39, Cherie discovered she had a lump in her breast and was diagnosed with Stage IV Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in Situ and given two years to live max. The wife and a mother of three boys says, “If I had gone to the doctor months before, I believe I would not be in the battle that I am in right now.”
Bella: What do you think the most important thing women should know about breast cancer?
CR: Early detection saves lives!!! Early detection is critical in treating breast cancer and increases survival rates. Breast cancer doesn’t come in a one-size fits all. It doesn’t care about your age, sex, race, or family history. We can’t just rely on our yearly exams because cancer grows at an alarmingly rapid pace. Early detection is KEY.
Heather McCullough: Stage IV Breast Cancer survivor, who was diagnosed four years ago at the age of 36 and underwent 18 weeks of chemo and four surgeries. Heather has four amazing boys (6-20 years old) and has been married for 22 years to her high school sweetheart. Her diagnosis came as a surprise since she has no family history of breast cancer and had an exam just a year prior. She ignored the signs until she felt a lump in her breast one day.
Bella: What reaction have you had to the campaign so far?
HM: The reaction we have had so far has been so overwhelmingly positive and supportive because almost everyone we talk to, has a story to tell about how they have been effected by Breast Cancer. California Pink Plate is a way for people to share their story. Whether you’re battling breast cancer, know someone who is or has lost their battle to breast cancer, everyone has a story to tell. California Pink Plate is a way for people to share their stories and help bring awareness to Early Detection Saves Lives.
Deborah Bordeau, 55, of the Bay Area city of Brentwood has been a teacher for more than three decades, including 25 years in the Oakley Union Elementary School District. In 2010, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her positive and empowered attitude, early detection and supportive network of friends and family helped her through treatment. In 2013 she was invited to be an American Cancer Society “Hero of Hope” and shared her story to help others along the way. The fifth grade teacher was named Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year in 2012. She is five years cancer free and calls herself “blessed” to be enjoying all of her life’s passions.
Bella: Why was the Pink Plate Started?
DB: As survivors we decided we wanted to do something substantial to bring early detection awareness to other women and to also make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. Pink Plate was born.
Our CA Breast Cancer Awareness license plate is one of the ways we can make a difference. Any breast cancer survivor or any oncologist will tell you that Early Detection is crucial to surviving breast cancer. Mammograms and self-exams do save lives. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the state of CA who hasn’t known someone with breast cancer, or who hasn’t been touched by breast cancer, or who hasn’t had their world forever changed by breast cancer.
- This plate will serve as a daily reminder to all women throughout the state.
- This plate will serve as a daily reminder to all husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons throughout the state.
- This plate will convey the message “Early Detection Saves Lives” and if one life is saved because of this plate it’s all worth it.
Carla Kimball, 57, of Los Angeles, was diagnosed with breast Cancer after a yearly mammogram in 2009. Faced with difficult choices, the mother of two decided to undergo a double mastectomy. After 14 hours in surgery, doctors told her they had found malignant tumors in both of her breasts. She considers herself “one of the lucky ones” for her early diagnosis and says early detection saved her life. Kimball and her husband have tirelessly advocated to make “CA Pink Plates” a reality.
Heather Solari, of Oakley CA, learned she had breast cancer just a few months after losing her mother to the disease. She was 25. Testing showed she had the breast cancer gene and she elected to have bilateral mastectomies and a complete hysterectomy. Several chemotherapy treatments, and a half dozen surgeries later, the mother of a 9-year-old daughter’s cancer has been in remission for four years. Her battle helped spur her to pursue her dream job as a San Leandro Public Safety Dispatcher. She hopes to “paint the roads pink and bring awareness” in California through the Pink Plate campaign.
Bella: How did early detection affect your prognosis and treatment?
HS: I truly believe early detection saved my life. I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma when I was 25 years old. I was between stage 1 and 2 with no lymph nodes involved. Having found it at an early stage I was able to take preventive measures along with treatment to help prevent the cancer from spreading.
These ladies want to #PaintTheRoadsPink in the state of California and raise money for those in need so please join them! You can get more information about the movement at www.pinkplate.org, and you can even give someone a California Pink Ribbon Plate as s gift!