The incidence of breast cancer among African-American women is slightly lower than among white women, however, the mortality rate is 39 percent higher. It is these statistics and her own battle with breast cancer that compelled Ontisar Freelain and her husband to support research to find a cure.
Three years ago, the Beverly residents and Kenwood Academy alumni held their first Beyond A Mammogram 5K Run/Walk in Hyde Park. Partnering with Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade and her team at the University of Chicago, 100 percent of net funds raised are for research of genetics and how a person’s DNA increases the risk for developing cancer.
“In addition to conducting ground-breaking research to find a cure for breast cancer, the University of Chicago is also studying African Americans and how specific genes may be found in us that aren’t the same markers as in other races and ethnicities,” explains Freelain, a mother of three. “For example, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes aren’t common markers in African Americans.”
Freelain says while these markers are a great discovery, more research is needed to look at how African Americans are diagnosed. The mission of Beyond A Mammogram is to increase the conversation about breast health among women, men and young girls. Freelain and her family have a goal to help raise $1 million for breast cancer research.
“Supporting efforts to help find a cure for breast cancer at the grassroots level is very important,” adds Freelain.
The Beyond A Mammogram Hyde Park Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 8 a.m., starting from 5200 S. Hyde Park Blvd. Registration begins at 7 a.m. The cost to sign up is $35. This is the first year the race is C.A.R.A certified.
In addition to the annual run/walk, Beyond A Mammogram provides free presentations on breast health awareness at local schools and community organizations throughout the year.
To sign up, go to http://beyondamammogram.com/6walkathon.html.