DAVENPORT, Iowa — Genesis Health is kicking off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with its inaugural "Gather for the Cure" event Oct. 2 in Davenport.
Organizers said they created it to help bring the community together to celebrate cancer survivorship and remember those that have passed away.
"We also are offering a lot of resources and information for people that want to know more about genetic testing and the correlation between healthy living and cancer reoccurrence," said Diane Koster, the Women's Health Grants Program Specialist at Genesis.
The event featured several different resource tables, such as one that showed women how to check themselves for breast cancer. For Koster, this cause is personal. Her daughter, Lindsay passed away at 28 years old after a 10-month battle with inflammatory breast cancer.
"I really want to educate to make sure that people in our community have the resources they need to get diagnosed early and decrease their chance of dying," she said.
The Pink Heals firetruck was also parked nearby for people to sign either for themselves or in honor of someone else.
"That was really cool," said breast cancer survivor Linda Jantz. "That was fun. I had to take a picture of it, so next time I come, I'll be able to find my place."
Jantz has been cancer free for 4 years.
"I went through mastectomy, and then I had chemo," she said. "It never leaves your mind. It's always in the back, but just try to be positive about everything and carry on normally, and live with it."
She added that it was a nice way to bring the community together.
"It just shows how many of you are together, how many there are," Jantz said. "People that you sometimes know but have never talked about it to anybody, so it's great to get together and meet people."
Another goal of the event was to raise money for the Center for Breast Health Fund voucher program at Genesis. According to Koster, the Susan G. Komen organization they previously worked with, was no longer providing financial support to voucher programs in the Quad Cities region. Therefore, there was a funding gap to fill.
"That was approximately $70,000 a year that we were getting from them, and that served about 450 individuals with breast imaging," Koster said. "The fund actually pays for mammograms and breast ultrasounds for people in our community who cannot afford it."
She said they've raised around $18,000 so far, which was more than she ever imagined.
Koster urged everyone to do their breast cancer screenings on time and to not hesitate to reach out to a doctor if they think something's wrong.