Yesterday, more than 3,000 Bosnians, Muslims, Croats, Serbs and Jews joined together at the Third Bosnia and Herzegovina Race for the Cure®, organized by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. This year’s Race honored the memories of Susan G. Komen (who died from breast cancer 30 years ago) and JDC’s Marcia Presky, founder of the Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP) – a JDC-Susan G. Komen ® for the Cure overseas breast cancer education program – who lost her battle five years ago.
The funds raised this year will be used to distribute immediate post-surgery medical kits to women and provide free mammogram checkups for uninsured women, where in Bosnia 1 in 7 do not have medical insurance. Proceeds from 2009 helped to purchase medication that significantly improves breast cancer survival and is not affordable for many Bosnian women. All funds raised for the Race will remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This year’s Race for the Cure coincided with the Seventh WHEP National Conference which focused on the challenges and successes in breast cancer treatment and early detection in Bosnia. Established in 1995, WHEP encourages the early detection of breast cancer, creates support groups and hotlines, strengthens doctor to patient communication, and facilitates partnerships among government agencies, NGOs and the medical community. WHEP programs have impacted the lives of women in Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro, Georgia, Israel and the Palestinian Territories.