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Lovejoy breakfast to recognize breast-cancer survivors

By Maria José Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the City of Lovejoy will host a special breakfast to recognize survivors, and raise awareness of the disease.

The "Pink Ribbon Breakfast for Breast Cancer Awareness," will be held Oct. 10, from 9 a.m., to noon, at the Lovejoy Community Center, which is located at 11622 Hastings Bridge Road, Hampton. According to organizers, although the event is free, participants must RSVP by Wednesday, Oct. 7.

"Breast-cancer awareness is important for women," said Sebastian Jackson, city manager of Lovejoy. "We want to do our part with the community, to bring awareness to everybody," he said. Jackson said the city will decide if the breakfast will be an annual event, based on the attendance level of this year's gathering.

Kim McNair, the organizer of the event, said participants will be able to enjoy hearing live, soothing, harp music, while eating their breakfast. Attendees will be provided with an array of food choices, such as eggs, grits, bacon and turkey.

Following the meal, McNair said, breast-cancer survivors will have an opportunity to share their journeys with others. There will be two guest speakers, Janet Beebe, a 26-year breast-cancer survivor, and Dr. Freda McCarter, founder of Precision Surgical Associates of Atlanta, LLC.

Beebe said she had breast cancer at the age of 33, while she was pregnant, but wasn't diagnosed until after she gave birth to her baby in 1983.

"I had the baby, and two other little boys, and I thought, somebody had to take care of these children, and my husband," recalled Beebe, about what drove her to battle and defeat breast cancer.

Beebe, who lives in Fayette County, said she stayed positive, while being treated for the disease, and promised God, that if she survived her overwhelming journey, she would dedicate her life to helping individuals suffering from the disease.

After her successful recovery, Beebe said, she developed a non-profit organization called, "Breast Cancer Survivors Network," for individuals who feel overwhelmed and scared, while experiencing breast cancer. She said she works with 35 support groups in 25 counties statewide, that help breast-cancer patients increase their self-esteem, increase their faith, create new friendships, and enjoy emotional support. The support groups are led by survivors.

During her talk at the breakfast, Beebe said, she will emphasize the importance of "early detection, and a little bit about my story ... and encourage them to be aware of their bodies. I am sure there will be breast-cancer survivors in the crowd, and I hope they reach out to each other, and their community."

According to organizer McNair, Dr. Freda McCarter, the other guest speaker, strongly sympathizes with those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and "goes above and beyond" to talk to her patients, and sometimes, even checks up on them at their homes.

McNair said Dr. McCarter hosts annual breast-cancer luncheons to help support those who have survived the disease. She hosted the "PINK on the Green Golf Tournament," in October of 2007 at the Fayetteville Golf Club, and raised $20,000 for breast-cancer survivors and preventive services, according to McNair.

Lovejoy City Manager Sebastian Jackson said the city chose McNair -- owner of McNair Productions -- to organize the event, because officials were impressed with how she executed the 2009 Sister to Sister "Developing Our Young DIVAS for Tomorrow" event in August at the Lovejoy Community Center.

McNair said she began collaborating with city officials on the breast-cancer breakfast about three months ago..

To RSVP for the breakfast, or for more information, contact McNair at (770) 707-2161.