Lexington organization Colors of Promise spreading breast cancer awareness
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Research shows that Black women in the U.S. are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age, at later stages and with more aggressive types of breast cancer than white women.
Through education and outreach, Lexington group Colors of Promise is working to change the statistics by being a link to hope for women of color in Kentucky.
If there is one thing Vivian Lasley-Bibbs is passionate about, it’s education among African American women and talking about something many in her community would rather not.
“Cancer has such a stigma to it and especially communities of color don’t want to talk about it. It’s something historically we haven’t shared in our families, we don’t know a lot about our family history,” said Lasley-Bibbs, Colors of Promise Vice President.
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, but women of color are 40% more likely to die from the disease. To raise awareness, Colors of Promise was started in Lexington in 2012. Over the last decade its mission among African American women has remained simple, but important.
“So we want to educate, we want to increase the awareness of what those numbers look like for Black and brown women. We want to make sure they have access to services,” said Lasley-Bibbs.
Colors of Promise is a sisterhood of sorts. While education is important, support is even more crucial within the group.
Meeting people where they are is another component for the group, which is why every October it hosts Pink the Pews events meant to raise awareness within the church and to celebrate survivors with a little extra love.
“We have been very fortunate to have not only survivors, but those that have family members who may have gone through this and then those who are just passionate about the issue itself,” said Lasley-Bibbs.
Denise Frazier is a two-time cancer survivor, and she has seen firsthand how important the group has been in her own life, and also how it’s changing the conversation among other Black women.
“Now I feel like we are more educated with breast cancer and can spread that throughout the community and encourage our young people to go have their yearly mammograms,” said Denise Frazier.
From support to love, Colors of Promise is a true link to hope for those in an often under-served community.
“So we are trying to tell women that this is treatable, you can beat this. I would love to see Colors of Promise organizations all across the commonwealth,” said Lasley-Bibbs.
Lasley-Bibbs says it is her hope that in the future, Colors of Promise is available to women in all 120 Kentucky counties and that they can expand their support services to more women.
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