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Spreading A Message That Will Save Lives

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to help spread awareness, Avera McKennan and The Empire Mall are teaming up. Saturday they held an event called 'Paint the Mall Pink,' to remind women the importance of mammograms.

One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer. It's a staggering statistic, but until we find a cure, one way combat the disease is prevention.

"I really believe like I said that I had a life saving mammogram. And people need to know its scary to have cancer, its scary to here those words, but if you’re going to have it, you want to catch it early,” said Kristie Schreck, a cancer survivor.

Kristie Schreck is in her fifth year of remission after a battling breast cancer.

“I turned 40 in December and went in for my very first mammogram ever, like suggested. And I got a call back saying they found something suspicious,” said Schreck.

Schreck said her doctors told her 80 percent of the time the lump is nothing, but her for it wasn't.

“I was in the 20 percent that had to go in for a surgical biopsy, they found it was cancer,” said Schreck.

 To help more women realize the importance of getting a mammogram Avera McKennan teamed up with The Empire Mall to 'paint it pink,' inside and out.

"Our message today is yes, mammograms do save lives, they allow us to detect cancer earlier. So get out and get your mammogram done,” said Kris Gaster of Cancer Services at Avera McKennan.

Kris Gaster said all the information out about mammograms has made women confused about when, where and why they should get one. And with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now may be a good time to get one.

“Usually October is a great month to mark it on their calendars and to remind themselves on an annual basis that they should be receiving a mammogram,” said Gaster.

As a mother of five, Schreck said she's happy the message is being spread so hopefully other moms can win their battle against breast cancer too.

“I told the kids that this might mean we are going to have one bad summer, but that means I get to be around for 40 more years to watch you all grow up,” said Schreck. “Then its going to be all worth it.”

There were also pink ribbons being sold at Saturday’s event to raise money for Avera’s Race Against Breast Cancer. The ribbons are on the mall’s floor and on them are written notes to those who have fought against breast cancer.  
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