From:                              Southeastern Community & Family Services, Inc. <>

Sent:                               Wednesday, October 14, 2015 4:05 PM


Subject:                          October 2015 Newsletter BCA Month


October 2015 Newsletter BCA Month


Southeastern Community & Family Services, Inc.                                                  Newsletter Issue #11 - October 2015




"To do all things necessary or proper to aid in improving the education, 

economic opportunities, living environment and general welfare of the people......"





CEO's Corner


Before moving to North Carolina, I didn't really pay as much attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month as I do now. I don't mind being transparent and revealing that I moved to NC in my mid-thirties and before then, was always told that it wasn't necessary to get a mammogram before the age of 50. I believed what I was told and simply decided I would wait.  

          Once I landed in NC, one of the first people I came in contact with was Mrs. Irene Stuart. I was drawn to Irene not only because of her sense of style and fashion, but she was feisty - in a good kind of way. I shared with her that I did not plan to have a mammogram for several years and all I can say is that after having that conversation with her, my life was forever changed. I learned more than I ever thought I would about breast cancer and early detection from Irene; she was so knowledgeable. You see, not only was Irene a resilient breast cancer survivor, but also the President of the Southeastern NC Chapter of Sisters Network, Inc., a breast cancer survivorship organization with a mission to increase the local and national attention to the devastating impact the disease has on the African American Community. I never heard of Sisters, but certainly heard of other nationally recognized organizations such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Before I knew it, I not only knew about Sisters, but Irene had me involved on the Board of Directors as the Secretary and in helping organize walks and literacy campaigns. 

          I learned so much from serving others and met a network of phenomenal women who were connected by a disease that somehow managed to shed light on their overwhelming beauty. What shocked me the most was that African-American women are diagnosed with breast cancer at a lower rate but parish at a higher rate than any other race. Why you may ask??? There are many factors such as lack of awareness and literacy, healthcare disparities, and cultural and social withdrawals. The list goes on...but the facts remain. Irene convinced me to have my first mammogram at the age of 35, and again, I don't mind being transparent, my results came back abnormal. My doctor asked me to come back in for a consultation and I did. He advised me to wait another six months for a second mammogram but I decided that I would immediately seek another medical opinion. I must admit, while waiting for my second results were quite scary. Thankfully, they were favorable and I was advised to have mammograms annually - and I do. 

          I am fortunate to be able to have these exams regularly and have a job that provides substantial health coverage, but I often think of the women who are not covered by insurance. Then there are those who have health insurance but they never heard of a mammogram screening because no one is knocking at their door or providing them with information in a manner that they can understand.  While serving on the Board of Directors with Sisters, I learned that many women in low income communities were simply embarrassed to have a mammogram or they were told by a spiritual leader that it was a sin to be touched in such a manner. Yes, I heard those types of stories as well. Now, as the CEO of an agency that specializes in serving low income clients, I have the "power" to bring awareness to individuals first-hand. I am committed to ensure that Southeastern at a minimum provide clients with literature regarding breast cancer health and direct them to resources that provide free mammograms to those who otherwise could not afford them.

          Earlier in my article, I mentioned this phenomenal woman named Irene. Sadly, she passed away a few years ago, but I continue to see how she lives on in our communities. She planted seeds in the lives of many, including me. Somehow I believe she would be proud of how a conversation many years ago has developed into me continuing her passion.


The mission continues..............................


Ericka J. Whitaker, M.S.A.



1 in 8 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.



8 Tips for Cancer Prevention


The fight starts with prevention.


1.   Keep physically active. 

Research suggests that increased physical activity, even when begun later in life, reduces overall breast-cancer risk by about 10 percent to 30 percent. It is important to exercise moderately every week. Research has shown that physical activity even started late in life can reduce risk by an average 20 percent. Try a 30-minute walk five days a week to get this protective effect.

2.    Eat healthy to avoid tipping the scale. 

A great tool is a healthy lifestyle. Embracing a diet high in vegetables and fruit but also low in sugared drinks, refined carbohydrates and fatty foods lowers risk. 

3.    Avoid becoming overweight.

The time of life when breast cancer occurs is after menopause. The risk compounds with the added factor of obesity. It is important to try avoiding weight gain over time and to maintain a body-mass index (BMI) below 25.

4.    Don't smoke.

Research suggests that long-term smoking is associated with increased risk of breast cancer in some women.

5.   Drink little or no alcohol. 

Alcohol use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Women should limit intake to no more than one drink per day, regardless of the type of alcohol.

6.    If you bear children, breast-feed your

     babies for as long as possible.

Breast-feeding for at least a year in total have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later in women.

7.   Avoid hormone replacement therapy.

Menopausal hormone therapy increases risk for breast cancer. If you must take hormones to manage menopausal symptoms, avoid those that contain progesterone and limit their use to less than three years. "Bioidentical hormones" and hormonal creams and gels are no safer than prescription hormones and should also be avoided.

8.   Get regular breast cancer screenings. 

It is important to follow your doctor recommendations to decide what type of screening you need and how often you need it. 





Client Victories




Jennifer stated that life for her has never been easy. She fights so that her son will have a bright and safe future. When she came to us, she was working part-time and was falling behind on several bills. Seeking assistance with finding stable full time work, Jennifer enrolled in our FESS program. We completed a resume and she began to search for a job.


Soon after Jennifer was able to land a job with Walmart. But her life got more difficult when her only means of transportation broke down during her first few weeks at Walmart. Afraid she would lose her job, Jennifer came to us again for assistance. We were able to provide her with

 transportation to and from work while we also helped have her vehicle repaired. 


Due to her employment history and experience, Jennifer earned two raise. Despite her higher salary, could no longer afford to pay rent. This was due to the high cost of her electric bill caused by poor wiring. Understanding this the landlord verbally agreed to forgive the past due rents but then broke his promise. 


With little options left we suggested that Jennifer check on an old application she submitted for Section 8 housing with the Housing Authority. To our surprise she was able to get a voucher and we began to search for a residence. School would be back in session soon and Jennifer wanted to ensure that her son was in stable home before then. We made several phone calls and visited many areas but came up empty.


Doubtful we suggested to Jennifer that she talk with her landlord about her current situation and informed her we would do whatever we could if she asked. Several days went by and Jennifer happily notified us that her landlord had agreed to turn the property into a Section 8 home. He also agreed to make repair to the property. Best of all, with help from the Housing Authority, he agreed to forgive anything owed from past due rents. 


Jennifer now remains in her current residence, her son is back in school this year and she just got her third raise with Walmart.  





Men can get breast cancer. 

For about every 100 cases of breast cancer, 

1 is in men.




- Gibson Cancer Center Outreach


Columbus Day


- Safety Education @ Head Start

- Head Start Block Party

- Halloween


Welcome to the 11th edition of our newsletter. 

Because it is October we have decided to shift our focus to the very important campaign this month recognizes, Breast Cancer Awareness. As you can see we've embraced what pink symbolizes, especially in the month of October. In this newsletter we aim to inform and encourage. We must all show our support in whatever way we can.



Programs in Action!


Section 8 Landlords Undergo Training


     On September 24, 2015 the Section 8 division of Southeastern Community & Family Services, Inc. sponsored a Fair Housing and Sexual Harassment training session for landlords who participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The training was held in Wagram, North Carolina.  Gene Troy, Jr., Human Relations Specialist and Investigator for the North Carolina Human Relations Commission of Raleigh provided the four-hour training session. Mr. Troy also provided the landlords with a brochure and booklet concerning Fair Housing laws.  

     Mr. Troy has also conducted Fair Housing and Sexual Harassment training for the Board of Directors and staff of Southeastern. Fair Housing training will be held annually for Section 8 personnel and landlords in the future.



Charles Norris -- "The Fair Housing training was very informative and timely, well presented and documented. Try to do this every year! Thank you!"

Peggy Boyles -- "The training today was helpful. I learned things that I was not aware of. Thanks for the opportunity to learn."



More than 2.8 million American 

women have survived breast cancer




MIRACLE FOR 2   by Erin Ripplinger


       I was diagnosed at 23 with stage 4 breast cancer. Little did I know that I would not only be fighting for my life but the life of a baby, one I didn't even know I was pregnant with until I was six months along!

The doctors were shocked at my young age. I had the doctors run a pregnancy test before I went ahead with reconstructive surgery and chemotherapy. It came back negative. So I continued ahead with the major surgery and reconstruction. After the surgery, I had a long healing process. I was on my fifth dose of chemo when I realized that I was gaining weight and not having monthly cylces. The doctors blamed the chemo and steroids. I then realized I was feeling movement like I was pregnant. We found out I was 24 weeks along! I had been pregnant the whole time and didn't realize it! Six months along!!

       The doctors ran an ultrasound and it showed that there was no amniotic fluid and the baby had no kidneys and bladder. The doctors told us that if the baby didn't have fluid by week 28, its lungs would not develop. I would go in every week for a test, and each week I would hear from them, "No fluid. No change." By week 28, I was praying as I walked into the hospital. I knew that all of our family and friends had been praying on our behalf and that their faith would work. The doctor was shocked when he told my husband and me that I had normal fluid! He did make sure that we knew his opinion that even then if the baby lived, it would only survive for 30 minutes!

       Through many steps and miracles, our beautiful baby was born six weeks early with absolutely no complications. He was in the NICU for only 11 days. My miracle baby is now 12, and I just celebrated my 13th year cancer-free. Miracles do happen! If you are strong and stand by what you believe, they do happen! The strongest tool I found in my cancer battle was the will -- the will to live, the will to love, the will to believe. You either have to choose faith in yourself and push through or fear and allow it to control your situation! I'm so glad that I chose faith!


Copyright © 2015 American Cancer Society, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Breast cancer kills more than 40,000 American women each year.



Employee Spotlight


My Breast Cancer Story - Carol Burney


           At forty years of age, after having my first mammogram, I began a breast cancer journey that would take me to places in the spirit, heart, soul, and mind that I never imagined I would go. It began when my doctor called me after my first mammogram, telling me he needed to investigate something that was close to the wall cavity, deep within my right breast.  He said "It doesn't appear to be anything to worry about, but I just want to be sure." The follow up led to a sonogram, a biopsy, and a few x-rays.  Prior to the decision to do the biopsy my doubtful doctor and determined radiologist talked in hushed tones discussing whether a biopsy was needed. Thankfully the radiologist convinced my doctor and a biopsy was performed. 

After the biopsy was completed for some reason, I wanted to see the specimen they removed.  The doctor obliged me as I looked into a tube to see what appeared to be some chicken fat and a round dark granite stone looking ball about the size of the end of your middle finger. Once the biopsy was sent off I began to agonize and worry. I was unable to concentrate and was very anxious to get the news. When the news finally came, I was devastated!  I'll never forget those words, "You have breast cancer."  

          Words have power, and when I heard those four words, I thought my world had ended.  I was shocked, stunned, discombobulated, and completely unable to see anything but death as the end result of the breast cancer.  It seemed as if all of the air had been sucked out of the room, and out of me. I couldn't die yet.  I had an eight year old son to raise.  I still had things to do and places to see, and I certainly didn't want to be without my family. It's funny how we take things for granted until we feel that we're going to lose them. There I was, more steps to take on this cancer journey.  Needless to say, there were many prayers, many tears, and much support from my family and friends.  Slowly but surely I came to terms with my situation; after all, I could only live until I died.  My focus changed from being death bound to being living focused, which meant being purposeful, intentional, and vigilant.  I didn't want to just count each day; I had to make each day count!

Part of the cancer journey was knowing what my options were and deciding what to do. My cancer was a stage 2 and was slow growing.  I could have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.  I took the 2nd option. The mastectomy was recommended with follow up chemotherapy twice per month for six months.  I tolerated the chemotherapy well and was able to work at my Head Start job as I took the treatments. 

         I encourage women to: Get regular check-ups and mammogram screenings, eat healthy, something I'm still working on, do self-examinations, support breast cancer awareness efforts, and to value themselves and their health.  An Arab proverb states:  "He who has health has hope, he who has hope has everything."  I share my story because I have been shown mercy, grace, and undeserved kindness.  Mercy in that I could have been gone, but my sentence was commuted, grace in that I have been allowed to see even greater blessings, and undeserved kindness in that I did nothing to deserve it!   

The journey that began 20 years ago continues to date.   

          A lot of positive living and lessons have been learned from my breast cancer journey.  The Creator has allowed me to live to see my then eight year old son grow into a respectable young man.  He has allowed me to see 45 states out of the 50 states in the United States of America.  I have earned an Associate's Degree, a Bachelor's Degree, and a Master's Degree.  I have traveled abroad and had the privilege of seeing things I had only previously read in books.  To say I have been blessed and highly favored would be an understatement.  Did I do this out of my own strength?  No!  It was my reliance on my faith, family, friends, and love for the Creator that helped me to get through my breast cancer journey. 

          I share this with you because there is life after a diagnosis of cancer.  I live with the reality of knowing that I will always be fighting cancer, and that it could come back, but I don't focus on that!  My cancer journey will not be complete until I am no more, and then the sting of death won't matter because of the hope I have of a resurrection.

I have learned that life is a gift, use your time wisely because you can't get it back or live it over.  You must stay focused on the present while learning from the past and looking forward to the future.  This underserved kindness that we call life, is to be lived fully and with others in mind.  It is love in its purest form.  I am, and always will be, "A Warrior in Pink!"            






Quote of the Month

"I've heard there are troubles of 

more than one kind.

Some come from ahead and some

from behind.

But I've bought a big bat. I'm all

ready you see.

Now my troubles are going to have

troubles with me!"


-Dr. Seuss






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Cynthia Foskey, Executive Administrator
Southeastern Community & Family Services, Inc. 







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