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Breast Cancer Survivors dance for their health

Exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back, and this group of women is keenly aware.

AURORA, Colo. — Soul line dancing has become a popular form of exercise in Black communities. 

But it’s more than exercise. It's stress relief. It’s a cultural connection.

“We get together and we are a family. We support each other in good times and bad times were always there for each other emotionally and we had fun doing it,” Antoinette Boykins explained.

On Wednesday night in Aurora, Mr. Charles and The Let’s Start Dancing Crew were dancing for more than their health. They were dancing for survival.

“I was diagnosed in November 2015,” Boykins said. “I got through it, I did. And I’m a happier person now. I’m happier and I’m healthier.”

Boykins is among more than a dozen breast cancer survivors and those still fighting that dance at The Kasbah in Aurora.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Black women and white women get breast cancer at about the same rate, but black women die from breast cancer at a higher rate – 40% more than white women.

“Women of color there’s more of a disparity for them because whether they’re scared to go to the doctor or get their mammogram or whether it’s in the funding aspect or just resources of not knowing,” explained breast cancer survivor and Susan G Komen administrator Tracey Drayton.

That is why these women said they are doing everything in their power to ensure those who look like them can avoid their diagnosis if at all possible. 

“Being healthy, getting exercise and even if it’s just 30 minutes a day,” said Drayton.

This dance crew has been around for more than a decade, dancing twice a week every week.

“It feels my heart with joy to see all these beautiful ladies out here, who survived. Something that was designed originally your break you,” Boykins managed through tears. “When you get this diagnosis it’s going to take you out. No, it’s not! We’re fighters and we fought and we won and we’re going to keep winning.”

The American Cancer Society recommends cancer survivors get 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week. 

Mr. Charles Dancing Crew meets every Tuesday and Wednesday and is always accepting new members.

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