Great strides have been made in the medical community over the past decade in terms of early detection, treatment and survival rates for those diagnosed with breast cancer.
That was the positive information shared outside City Hall Wednesday night by Dr. Linda Myers, of the Kathryn Candor Lundy Breast Health Center at Divine Providence Hospital.
The building and grounds were illuminated in pink lights as about 40 people gathered along West Fourth Street to remember those battling, those who have succumbed and to provide further education to women and men.
Above, a lantern was lit in honor of breast cancer survivors and those who have died from the illness. The lantern was released from the steps of City Hall.
"We're getting better at diagnosing at early points in time through better imaging," she said.
She encouraged women to get check-ups and schedule mammograms. She noted men also can be struck with the disease.
Survivors of breast cancer and families of those who fought hard, but lost the battle to the disease, watched as a lantern with a flame inside was sent skyward.
It took off slow at first, clearing trees and City Hall, before soaring high into the night sky.
Minutes before launching it, the Rev. Dr. Larry Stout, a motivational speaker from near Montgomery, offered an invocation. He spoke of a "light in our darkness and hope in hopelessness."
Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said such occasions are bittersweet. He was supportive of Christy Haberstroh, his executive assistant who is battling Stage 4 breast cancer. Haberstroh's cancer is not cureable but she is getting treatments and the worst seems to be in remission.
"She's getting healthier through good medical help and prayer," Campana said. "But there are still people suffering."
"Fight," Haberstroh said smiling wide. "Smile and be happy. Live each day like it is your last."
"Effective today," Campana said. "This is Christy Haberstroh Breast Cancer Awareness Month."