By the time you are reading these words on page 4, you have, presumably, discovered that your Chestnut Hill Local is pink. I assure you, even though it is pink all the way through, your Local is well-done. This week’s pink edition of the Local is a modest, but hopefully meaningful, attempt to bring heightened awareness to the breast cancer issue. Part of our charge as a community newspaper is to bring our community together on issues that bind us all.

There are likely few people reading these words who do not know someone who has battled or is currently waging the fight against breast cancer. Maybe it’s a sister, mother, neighbor, wife or friend. If you are among those fortunate few, you are unlikely to remain so, as one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that breast cancer incidence rates began decreasing in the U.S. in 2000, according to BreastCancer.org. The even better news is that survival rates have been increasing since 1989, and according to the site, credit for that is likely attributed to “treatment advances, earlier detection through screening and increased awareness.”

This pink paper, we hope, will be a source of inspiration for you if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, to let you know that you have a whole community behind you and rooting for you. And if you are the family or friend of someone who has been afflicted, this paper is intended to let you know that you are not alone in your care, anxiety or grief. And if you are a woman who has put off having regular screenings for breast cancer, let this gawdy pink newspaper be a reminder to stop putting it off, pick up the phone and schedule your mammogram. If you are uninsured or underinsured, Chestnut Hill Hospital has a program that could provide a free mammogram for you. Call Chestnut Hill Hospital at 215-248-8400 to see if you qualify for a free screening. Breast cancer is treatable and beatable. Early detection is important.

The best thing about the pink paper is that it is a total community commitment. The Local this week is just the vessel of community support for this cause. As you will see as you look through the pages of this week’s paper, local businesses and organizations have placed ribbons and other messages of encouragement and support for those battling breast cancer and for their families and caregivers. A portion of the advertising and sponsorship proceeds from this week’s paper will be donated to the Living Beyond Breast Cancer organization.

This Friday, First Friday, many stores in Chestnut Hill, along Germantown Avenue and the side streets, will have pink pompoms outside their doors, or their windows will be dressed in pink. They encourage you to dress in pink as well. Many will have special offers for shoppers and a percentage of the sales will also be donated to LBBC or Chestnut Hill Hospital’s screening program for underinsured/uninsured women. Let’s fill the streets with pink on Friday evening.

LBBC’s vision is “a world where no one impacted by breast cancer feels uninformed or alone.” And their mission is “to connect people with trusted breast cancer information and a community of support.” Whether you are recently diagnosed, in treatment, years beyond treatment, living with metastatic breast cancer or a loved one, LBBC is there to help. Call their helpline at 1-888-753-5222, or visit them online.

On behalf of the Chestnut Hill Local, I would like to extend a big thank you to Chestnut Hill Hospital for their sponsorship of the Local’s Pink Edition.

Finally, there are certainly many issues that can drive a community apart. But there are certainly just as many, if not more, causes that can bring us together if we take the time to put our efforts toward them.

Showing support for those women, men and families in Chestnut Hill and surrounding neighborhoods whose doors have been unwelcomely darkened by this disease is one such cause this community should take part in for their, and its own, benefit.

John Derr, Publisher

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