About 425 women gathered Saturday at St. Louis Baptist Church for a day of education about breast cancer. It was the third time organizers with Pin-a-Sister, a group that promotes breast cancer prevention in the African-American community, brought out medical professionals, survivors and vendors to spread the word about breast health and early detection.
Women of all ages attended, including Shakeitha Washington, who got her first mammogram this year. She's among the 7,000 East Texas women who have learned about Pin-a-Sister at church.
"Being here today, I just really enjoyed hearing about the healthy tips and the exercise," she said. "Since I turned 40, that's something that I've been trying to get into."
The keynote speaker, Coqueace "Coco" Powell, provided a powerful testimony that moved the crowd. She encouraged the women to take care of themselves first and to pay attention to changes in their bodies.
"While you are still living, we need to go to the doctor," she said. "We need to see about our health."
She added, "Doctors are human, too. They make mistakes, too. But if you know what's going on with your body, you can see a change, then you can tell them what's going on with their body."
Pin-a-Sister was established four years ago and aims to reach more people.
"The message is still the same: encouraging women to get their mammograms," said Regina Davis, director of East Texas Medical Center's Breast Care Center. "I know the word is out there, but now what we have to do is move from awareness to action."