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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Pink shawl project raises cancer awareness

  • Dakota Wicohan of Morton hosted a Pink Shawl Project event this past Monday afternoon, with several in attendance to help make the shawls, and to honor Yvonne Leith, co-founder of the organization, who passed away due to cancer earlier this year.
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  • The shawl is a common item in American Indian regalia.
    The color pink symbolizes breast cancer awareness.
    Put the two together, and one has the symbol for a new project being conducted by the American Indian Cancer Foundation.
    Aptly called the Pink Shawl Project, the effort is bringing people together to help raise cancer awareness and to encourage cancer screenings, especially among American Indians who have the lowest rates of screening among American people groups.
    Dakota Wicohan of Morton hosted a Pink Shawl Project event this past Monday afternoon, with several in attendance to help make the shawls.
    According to Laura Keys, a community health worker and coordinator of the Pink Shawl Project for the American Indian Cancer Foundation, the project is intended first and foremost to provide education about the importance of getting screened.
    She said there are a number of types of cancer that can be treated, and much of that has to do with getting in and having a screening by a doctor.
    Many times when American Indians are diagnosed with cancer it is a death sentence, because they have not been screened and the cancer is too far along, added Keys.
    The American Indian Cancer Foundation was created in  2010 by Dr. David Purdue who believed there was not enough attention being paid to cancer issues when it comes to American Indians, and this foundation has helped through its eff-orts to make changes.
    The foundation hosts an annual pow wow for hope event in May.
    In addition more than 160 shawls have been made. Those shawls are presented to survivors or are worn in memory of someone who has died.
    For those at Dakota Wicohan, the event was held to honor Yvonne Leith, co-founder of the organization, who passed away due to cancer earlier this year.
    According to Shakeena Pazi, who works at Dakota Wico-han a Run for Your Life event is being held Saturday on the Upper Sioux Community at the Wacipi Arbor starting at 9 a.m. Proceeds from the run are being donated to the cancer foundation. All are invited and encouraged to attend this event.
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