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Color of Hope: Residents celebrate Paint Natchez Pink Day

 

NATCHEZ—Cancer survivors arrived in style Friday as Natchez held a celebration to ‘Paint Natchez Pink’ for breast cancer awareness.

Oscar Davis escorted 10 cancer survivors to the event in a stretch Hummer decorated with a pink wreath on the grill and pink ribbons along the sides.

Davis owns 1st Class Limos and donated his services for the event.

“I always do charitable things in the community, so when they called about doing (breast) cancer awareness I said no problem. A lot of the ladies had never ridden in a limo, so it was good to see the smiles on their faces,” Davis said.

Davis’ wife, Loretta, dressed in pink attire and also attended the event. Loretta Davis said she watched her friend Carolyn Burnett struggle with breast cancer for four years. Loretta Davis also said her sister, Martha McCall, died of pancreatic cancer.

“Once you see your loved ones go through it, it’s a hard thing to see. My sister beat it for 15 years and died in 2013,” Loretta Davis said. “Anyone with cancer, it touches my heart. That’s a very ugly disease.”

Loretta Davis said the commemoration was a touching event, especially when the pink balloon release was joined by a flock of white birds.

“Once they released the balloons, it reminded me of when my sister passed,” Loretta Davis said.

The release of pink balloons took place on the steps of the Adams County Courthouse. The ceremony was accompanied by a proclamation from Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis.

Arceneaux-Mathis proclaimed Oct. 12 to be Paint Natchez Pink Day.

Arceneaux-Mathis said 1-in-8 women in the United States would develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. The best defense, Arceneaux-Mathis said, is early detection through regular self-exams and annual mammograms.

Patricia Gaylor and Linda Rice, first cousins and both of Monroe, Louisiana, came to support the event. Rice said she lost her grandmother, Martha Rice, and her aunt, Irene Hickman, both to cancer. Rice said she also has two aunts, Estella Drew and Audry Quinn, who are fighting cancer.

“It’s important to get a checkup as needed,” Rice said. “Don’t take your health for granted.”

Also attending was Natchez native Jimmy “Jim Bob” Allgood, host of the television program “Redneck Adventures.” Allgood said his mother-in-law Melba Wisner is an eight-year cancer survivor.

“We love every day we have her,” Allgood said.

This was the second year of the annual Paint Natchez Pink event. Merit Health Natchez with Marketing Director Kay Ketchings organized the event with cooperation from the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce, sponsors and local businesses.

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Merit Health Natchez will offer mammograms at special times for women who cannot get off work during business hours. The screenings will be offered 5-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 and 25. To schedule an appointment, call 601-443-2230.

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