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Pink Party aims to detect, reduce breast cancer in Petersburg

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A unique partnership between the City of Petersburg and Southside Regional Medical Center aims to detect breast cancer as early as possible to better treat the disease.

The city's trolley picked up female employees Thursday morning and took them to Southside Regional's Medical Arts Pavilion for a Pink Party.

But the food and hand massage was designed for more than making the employees feel special, it is to help build a bond between the women who supported each other as they received their mammograms upstairs.

The group of twenty were told early on that "today is about you" as they prepared to eat lunch and relax.

"We're having our little pink party today," Dr. Daphne Bazile-Harrison said. "But at the end of the day it's about bringing awareness to women's health.  1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer."

The partnership, which was the brainchild of Petersburg City Council Woman Treska Wilson-Smith, has been met with much enthusiasm.

"Many women who die from breast cancer aren't those who are uninsured," Petersburg City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides said. "They're folks like myself who haven't taken time to take care of themselves."

The Pink Party is a way for the women to show support at time when many are stressed by the idea of getting a mammogram.

The partnership comes as Dr. Bazile-Harrision was been seeing an increase in the number of patients being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The city manager said this preventative measure also helps keeping healthcare costs down.

"The cost I will spend if that employee develops cancer will not even amount to the time they've spent today being checked," Ferrell-Benavides explained. "Preventive health is the key."

The partnership also allows city employees who do not have health insurance to receive a mammogram for $90.