What does NMC dancing on the front lawn have to do with promoting Breast Cancer Awareness?

Great question…we were definitely dancing!  The NMC team is so devoted to the early detection and treatment of breast cancer that we will do most anything it takes, including dance, to improve wellness in our community!  In an amazing show of support for the breast cancer survivors, including those among our hospital family, more than 200 of us came together for an NMC Pink Glove Dance to raise awareness of breast cancer.  What an amazing, powerful experience!  Our video debuted last week and is now available for viewing on NMC’s website and on Northwest Access TV.  You have to see it!

The Pink Glove Dance is a national breast cancer awareness effort sponsored by Medline, a manufacturer of healthcare supplies and a fundraiser for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  It challenges organizations to don pink gloves and get dancing to call attention to the facts that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. Even more importantly, it celebrates that early detection and treatment greatly increase a woman’s chances of beating the disease, as evidenced by the American Cancer Society’s statement that “when breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 100%.”  That’s an amazing ray of hope.  

Here at NMC, our nationally accredited Community Cancer program provides access to the resources each of us need relating to breast cancer.  Through Primary Care and Lifestyle Medicine, we are working to help foster early detection.  We offer digital mammography at NMC and at the Urgent Care in Georgia and are adding the new technology of Tomosynthesis, a 3D approach to mammography at the hospital.  Our Breast Care Navigator, Chelsey Mulheron, RN,  works with women whose mammograms show concerns, to help them through the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation process. This personal attention and assistance, delivered with extraordinary warmth and compassion, has drawn high praise from women in our community.  We are fortunate to have local surgeons skilled in breast cancer surgeries, to host an Oncologist on our campus, and to have strong relationships for coordinated care with the radiation oncology services at the University of Vermont Medical Center.  With all of this in place, and our focus on wellness, it was only natural that the NMC team would come together to dance for breast cancer.

Jane Catton, our Chief Operating/Nursing Officer, championed the dance initiative, drawing in key support from Kate Laddison of Community Relations, Suzanne Tremblay of Lifestyle Medicine, and a host of others at NMC who stepped forward to help organize this effort.  My sincerest appreciation goes out to them for making time for this amazing effort.  Our dance was choreographed by local artist Rachel Bilodeau and set to the song “Overcomer” by Mandisa.  We were fortunate to have a tremendous video partner in Northwest Access TV, with special thanks due to Elizabeth Malone for agreeing to collaborate with us and to Paul Snyder for his incredible skills and support as videographer. 

This team produced both the 4 minute dance video and a companion 15 min documentary film on the initiative that features interviews with breast cancer survivors, dance participants, and even behind the scenes video clips! The videos are now available for viewing on our website, www.NorthwesternMedicalCenter.org , on the NMC YouTube channel, and there are links to them from our Facebook page.  During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, they are also running on Northwest Access TV. 

I want to thank each and every NMC’er who participated.  Even with our hospital’s theatrical history though Cardiac Capers, stepping into the spotlight and dancing is not easy for many. Plus, making time to practice with others amidst busy jobs and lives is a huge challenge.  Fortunately, we found once you start, dancing is fun and great exercise!  I am so proud that our team was up to this challenge to help raise awareness of breast cancer. Please take a few minutes to watch the documentary and the dance video.  Make sure every woman in your life is attentive to the steps to early detection – including having their screening mammogram on the schedule recommended by their primary care provider.  Early detection and treatment saves lives.  Together, we are making a difference – let’s keep dancing our way to good health.

Jill Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer