Cancer survivors, family members and medical professionals will look at living with and thriving despite having breast cancer at the fourth annual Yvonne Ashley Galiber Foundation Breast Cancer Awareness Conference on Saturday on the St. Croix campus of the University of the Virgin Islands.
According to YAG Foundation President and founder Yvonne Ashley Galiber, this year’s conference will take a look into the future.
“As cancer survivors renew their daily commitment to remain positive and healthy, they want to move beyond this disease and get stronger in mind and body – they want to thrive,” Galiber said in a statement. Based on personal experience, Galiber said she has learned that “it is important for us to live more fully, to love others more passionately and to learn more about surviving cancer in the Virgin Islands."
"That is why we take this annual opportunity to bring together a cross section of the community to share our stories and to give hope,” she said.
Galiber said she would like the conference to help spread knowledge and reduce fear about breast cancer.
"There is a lot of fear out there we are trying to dispel. A lot of women look at breast cancer as a death sentence. And some people avoid getting tested. I had a nurse say to me after my own treatment that she’d rather not know – a nurse of all people," Galiber said.
Galiber survived breast cancer in 2005 and thyroid cancer in 2006, and has made it a priority through her foundation to help those who cannot access the quality medical care she received during her illnesses. Since 2007, the YAG Foundation has assisted approximately 350 uninsured or underinsured women with obtaining mammograms. The organization is currently working to raise monies to support costs for those who require further medical services such as biopsies and pathology reports.
“Education is also a large part of what we do,” Galiber said, “and we are proud that our annual conferences have heightened cancer awareness. We believe we have helped save lives by motivating men and women towards early cancer detection.”
Connecting with survivors of all types of cancers, their families, health providers and advocates will be one of the highlights of this year’s conference agenda. The growing prevalence of triple negative breast cancer will be discussed by hematologist-oncologist Dr. Erole Hobdy, and radiation oncologist Dr. Samuel Hughes will discuss cancer treatment and management. Wellness expert Charlene Springer will demonstrate the importance of a healthy lymph system, and yoga instructor JoAnn Jones will provide techniques for relieving the stresses of cancer treatment and survival.
In the “Real People, Real Talk” session, Galiber expects a lively discussion between the audience and a panel of five local and mainland residents who will share their unique perspectives on how cancer has affected their lives as patient, survivor, care partner, family member and physician. Continuing medical education (CME) units will be offered to eligible health professionals who attend.
The YAG Foundation will also exhibit the 2013 entries in the “Beauty and the Bra: An Art Competition” fundraiser. Attendees will be able to cast their $1 vote for their favorite original design with the proceeds benefiting YAG’s programs. Bra art entries will be accepted until Sept. 25. A mini-marketplace of natural products and comfortable clothing will also be featured at the conference.
The conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the Great Hall at the Albert A Sheen campus of UVI. Registration is from 7:45 to 8:45 a.m.
An admission fee of $5 will help defray the cost of the conference, refreshments and lunch; however, a limited number of free entry passes will be available for those who cannot afford the price of admission. Those interested in qualifying for conference passes, the bra art competition, support group meetings or other services offered by YAG Foundation can call 340-332- 9115 or 340-626-6690.