COPPERAS COVE — October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Through the course of the month people across the country will raise awareness about the importance of education on the disease, testing and screening. Kenyetta Reeves, licensed vocational nurse with the Copperas Cove Medical Home, a Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center facility, makes sure that the medical home is “pink-a-fied” by decorating for National Breast Cancer Awareness.
“I have been doing this for the past nine years straight,” Reeves said. “When people walk in and don’t see any pink, it makes people feel like no one cares. Fighting breast cancer takes a lot of strength. One day I came in and looked around and decided we need to do something, and got right to it.”
Reeves not only uses her own money to purchase the decorations, she also has developed her own breast cancer themed trivia for her coworkers to participate in. She develops cards with questions about breast cancer for staff members to find and even provides prizes to those who answer correctly.
“I even have a raffle for them to buy tickets for a mystery gift and they find out the winner at the end of the month at the pink potluck that I throw,” Reeves said. “Not only is it good bonding, but it also helps keep the topic in their faces. I see it as a constant reminder for them to go get checked, which is great. You can’t raise awareness by being shy about a topic.”
Reeves not only has a family history of breast cancer, but she has encountered many patients that have been diagnosed with the disease, including Soldiers.
“It’s just a shocker every time,” she said. “One day they come in and get a mammogram and just like that their life is changed. We need to honor those people who have fallen to it and stand by the ones who are still fighting against it. Just like we see turquoise for SHARP (sexual harassment/assault response prevention program) and see purple for domestic violence months, we need to see more pink in the Army community.”
Reeves dreams to develop her own mobile-mammogram truck, but for now, she will continue her annual breast cancer awareness celebration to educate those in the facility about the disease until her platform grows.
“Raising some awareness is always better than none,” Reeves said. “For now, I will keep doing what I am doing. I will tell staff and patients to look into their family history. I will tell them to document any differences they feel in their breasts and to get checked. We only have one life, and it is important to take care of ourselves and one another. The breast cancer warriors must know that they are not alone, and I am going to continue to fight with you.”