By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
Members of the Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group are getting ready to host their 13th annual prayer breakfast, and they are certain they only made it this far because of their faith.
With a mission statement to provide supportive care, encouragement, coping skills, resources, strength and hope for women who have or had cancer, the Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group continues to promote health, wholeness and healing through various events such as the highly anticipated prayer breakfast.
The newest instalment of the event is scheduled to take place at the Meliá Nassau Beach Resort on Saturday, September 9, beginning 7.30am.
Also celebrating 17 years under the theme "Sisters Stay in the Race," the dynamic group of women will host the prayer breakfast in conjunction with BAF Financial. The required donation fee is $45.
Highlights of the prayer breakfast will include survivor stories, solo and church choir performances, keynote addresses and an appearance by the Royal Bahamas Police Pop Band.
The prayer breakfast came into existence after the late Brenda Russell saw the need to take praise and worship to another level, beyond the group's monthly meeting sessions.
"Sister Brenda Russell realised how the spirits of our phenomenal sisters whose bodies had been invaded by the varies forms of cancers were enlightened and uplifted during the praise and worship segment of our monthly gathering. She thought we need not await an invitation from the religious community to participate in their prayer breakfast," said Andrea Sweeting, Sister Sister president.
As told by Ms Sweeting, Ms Russell's media and marketing skills led her to convince the British American Insurance to partner with Sister Sister in 2004, hosting the inaugural prayer breakfast. Since then, the prayer breakfast has become a major fundraiser for the organisation, assisting in the cost of port-a-caths and needles gifted to cancer survivors in preparation for chemotherapy treatment.
"Although Brenda passed in October 2006 and British American Insurance company changed ownership to BAF Financial, her negotiated agreement and initial planning lives on," said Ms Sweeting.
"We are excited that the prayer breakfast is an outward showing of what the Lord has done for each one of us, where we openly give thanks and praise for where He has brought us. Family, friends and supporters share our joy. It demonstrates that early detection saves lives, with sisters in attendance with many years of survival; they are alive and doing well."
Members of the public are encouraged to keep up to date with the Sister Sister team as they prepare to host several events in the coming weeks, including 'Walk in Paradise' at Atlantis; monthly educational sessions every third Saturday of the month from 8am to 1pm at the Centreville Medical Centre; open discussion afternoons at Centreville Medical Centre; 'Paint Da Streets Pink' fun run/walk on September 30, beginning 6am from Arawak Cay; the CIBC First Caribbean sixth annual 'Walk for the Cure' on October 1, and various breast cancer awareness activities during the month of October.
Events are open to all cancer survivors, caregivers, supporters and interested persons.
"If you are unable to attend, sponsor someone. For it's you, the public, who is responsible for this, so see you there," said Ms Sweeting.
The brainchild of Dr Locksley Munroe and Dr Charles Diggiss, the Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group was launched in September 2000 as a non-profit charitable group for women diagnosed with breast cancer. Nurse Charlene McPhee, assisted by office staff members Francis Smith, Margaret Thurston and Cheryl Ingraham underpinned the fledgling group until it took flight. In October 2006, the Freeport Chapter of Sister Sister was chartered under the leadership of Pastor C. Ann Grant of Agape House Ministries.
The Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group's business office is located on the Surgical Suite's second floor at the Centreville Medical Centre #68 Collins Avenue. Contacts numbers are: 326-1929, 356-7193 and 376 0054.