The West Orange community focused on raising awareness for an important cause throughout the month of October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant, cancer, cells form in the tissues of the breast.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The organization estimates that in 2021, 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S. as well as 49,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers.
Today in the U.S., there are over 3.8 million breast cancer survivors.
Local schools, police forces and community leaders focused on raising awareness for those impacted during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
At Foundation Academy Lakeside, the students and staff went far beyond just wearing pink to show their support.
Students created cards full of cheerful pictures and words of hope that will be delivered to a local breast cancer treatment center. They will also bring sweet treats to the staff at the center as a thank you for the work they do.
Amanda Donaho, principal of the Lakeside campus, said the school wanted to be a light for those in the midst of the breast cancer battle.
"Teaching our students about sharing God's love with others is one of the most important things we do at Foundation Academy Lakeside," Donaho said.
The Ocoee Police Department has also been very involved in bringing the community together in support of the cause, especially since the cancer has affected some of its closest employees.
Ocoee Police Chief Saima Plasencia said the department has several family members who have had cancer. Amongst them, they also have a breast cancer survivor, Sergeant Trista Blake, whose story we told you about here.
On Thursday, Oct. 28, the department even hosted a drive through event in support of those impacted.
The pop-up event encouraged residents to show support for breast cancer research by purchasing custom Ocoee PD pink T-shirts and patches. The event also offered locals a chance to take a picture with the customized pink police vehicle, wrapped courtesy of Orlando Health.
The Ocoee PD also shared that it received a box of special pink ribbon cookies from Ocoee resident Marcia Praysner as a reminder of the importance of the cause.
"Kind gestures such as these are so meaningful," Plasencia said. "We are grateful to serve in a community which always demonstrates their care, concern, and commitment to our first responders. The cookies were awesome but the message of remembrance and self care is invaluable. We are privileged to serve our community."
Praysner shared that she makes the cookies in honor of her sister who passed away from breast cancer five years ago.
She said she tries to do something every year in honor of her and other women. She delivers them to local departments, hospitals and businesses.
"I know the struggles my sister went through and I wanted to do something in her memory," Praysner said. "I hope that this act can put a smile on someone's face or at least brighten someone's day."