Raquel Smith (Photo submitted)

Raquel Smith never imagined becoming a breast cancer education and awareness advocate. Still, it was Smith’s own breast cancer diagnosis that inspired her life’s mission to help other women.

The Pink Topps Resource and Wellness Center in Bessemer, Alabama, is a nonprofit breast cancer advocacy organization, founded by Smith, that focuses on saving and recycling plastic, which is then donated to recycling centers in exchange for donations to the Bessemer-based nonprofit. Through Pink Topps, Smith aims to promote early detection, support during treatment and higher self-esteem for breast cancer patients and survivors, while also raising awareness about the various ways that the disease affects younger adults.

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center

Lauren Roberts was surrounded by a seemingly endless supply of pink bags as she stood in the back office of the 134-year-old Victorian mansion in Birmingham’s Southside. The gifts were soon set for delivery. For most of the people receiving them, it would be their first introduction to the Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center.

“These are the bags that we give to all the doctors’ offices,” said Roberts, Forge’s executive director. “We are here from day one of a breast cancer diagnosis through the rest of their lives, and for their caregivers, family and loved ones too.”

Mike Slive Foundation

Prostate cancer screening is key for early detection, early treatment and improved survival. However, prostate cancer screening rates among Black men are only about 37%. In response to these disparities, the Office of Community Outreach & Engagement at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB has partnered with the Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research on a study to better understand how to increase screening rates within this population. 

James "Buddy" Chess

James “Buddy” Chess is a master fisherman who is most relaxed along the waterfront, waiting for the “big one” to take his line. Still, he remembers that his most recent peace of mind came in the form of a simple, yet important test regarding his health: a lung cancer screening provided by the Alabama Lung Cancer Awareness Screening and Education program.

Solomon Crenshaw Jr. speaks during a virtual session on No Menthol Sunday, May 17.

More than 150 churches and community organizations partnered with the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center on May 17 to present No Menthol Sunday, a longstanding annual effort of the O’Neal Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach & Engagement, in conjunction with the Center of Black Health & Equity, to educate local congregations on the risks associated with smoking and other tobacco use.


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