Hundreds of cancer survivors celebrate success

Published 12:06 am Saturday, November 4, 2017

PAULINA — St. James Parish Hospital recently hosted its annual Pink Ribbon Ladies’ Night Out at the St. Peter Chanel Gym in Paulina.

This year’s event welcomed ladies to a “talk show” set that included a host and a panel of expert speakers. The hospital sold out of 350 tickets, attracting a full-house of survivors, caregivers and women eager to learn.

Ladies were greeted at the door by employees who handed out bags of goodies and education. Survivors were given sashes to identify themselves with a commemorative pin for the 2017 event.

Ladies were invited to visit the St. James Parish Radiology table for education and information. In addition, each attendee was offered a walk on the “Pink Carpet” where they could have a seat on a couch full of pink pillows for a movie-star style photo shoot.

The event began with a blessing and dinner before the “talk show host” was called to stage. Mary Ellen Pratt, hospital CEO, facilitated the talk. Panel members were introduced one by one and invited to have a seat on-set. Each panel member was from a different background, but all brought forth interesting, lifesaving information during a candid “Pink Talk” session.

Expert panel members included: Dr. Simone Pitre, OBGYN with Rue de Sante Women’s Center in LaPlace; Dr. Laura Chauvin, Oncologist/Hematologist with the Cancer Center of Thibodaux Regional, Dr. Charles McGaff, Surgeon at St. James Surgical Specialists; Dr. Robert Newsome, Radiologist at Baton Rouge Radiology Group; Donna Williams, MS, MPH, DrPH at LSUHSC New Orleans School of Public Health and Stacy Heltz Mammogram Technician at St. James Parish Hospital. All panel physicians are part of the growing medical staff at St. James Parish Hospital.

After the panel discussion concluded, attention moved to a comfortable living room-style set where two survivors were interviewed to tell their very different and brave stories.

Wendy Bolding, 1.5 year survivor from Paulina and Kay Dornier, 15 year two-time survivor from Gramercy, both had touching stories to tell with a common message—pay attention to your body and don’t take life for granted.

The night ended with inspiration and celebration as breast cancer survivors were called to the front of the stage one-by-one. A picture of the group will be displayed in the hospital’s mammography room as a positive reminder that with early detection, the battle against breast cancer can be won.