Local Group Receives Grant for Breast Cancer Project
A Moore County advocacy group has received a grant on behalf of its work in educating the Hispanic population about breast cancer.
In 2009, Eli Arroyo-Allen, public information officer for the Moore County Manager’s Office, spearheaded the Loving Life/ Amando La Vida organization to support Spanish-speaking women in the area who are undergoing treatment for the disease.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation chose the group for a $10,000 award, called the Capacity Building and Community Mobilizing grant. It was presented last week at a ceremony in Sanford.
Komen Foundation Outreach Program Associate Rocio Anderson, of the organization’s NC Triangle to the Coast affiliate in Raleigh, spoke positively of the grant recipients.
“Amando La Vida caught our attention in part because of their wish to work across county borders,” Anderson said. “Counties normally don’t work together, so we thought this represented a great initiative for others to follow.
“We helped them develop a strategic plan, issued the grant to them last week, and they are now proceeding to develop programs that will inform those in need within the two counties.”
The Loving Life Foundation will share in the grant with the Moore County Free Clinic.
“We are now planning our first meeting following the receipt of the grant money,” Arroyo-Allen said. “Since we couldn’t have two recipients, we decided to name the clinic as the sole recipient, while the actual grant will support the efforts of Loving Life.”
Partners in the two-county effort include FirstHealth, Pinehurst Radiology, Moore County government, Lee County government, the health departments of both counties, and more.
“We are planning to do two or three events in both communities, but our outreach will not be limited to those occasions,” Arroyo-Allen said. “We have a task force in place and are now creating focus groups to go out into the field.
“Rather than waiting for those scheduled events to take place, we intend to take the initiative to visit these target areas much more frequently, hopefully beginning by early spring.”
The St. Joseph of the Pines mobile unit will be used to provide initial and basic profile screenings to women at those sites.
“The grant money will be used to further the awareness and education of breast cancer among Hispanic women,” Arroyo-Allen said. “While Latinas are our main focus, all women are welcome.”
Anderson said that Arroyo-Allen’s familiarity with Hispanic culture and with the Moore-Lee county communities made her a person of interest to the Komen Foundation.
“Some of the thousands of things that attracted us to the Loving Life Foundation included Eli’s history of being a Latina person coming to a different country and trying to understand that language and culture,” Anderson said. “She also knows the Hispanic culture and community that lives in the two counties, and the fact that she is a breast cancer survivor herself gives more power to what we are trying to accomplish through this program.”
County Manager Cary McSwain praised Arroyo-Allen and the group for their efforts.
“They have a well-developed plan to build relationships that will disseminate breast cancer awareness and will encourage Hispanic women to seek medical attention,” McSwain said. “It is a much-needed thing in these communities.”
McSwain called Arroyo-Allen’s role “very important.”
“She initiated the whole process, and worked with the free clinic to be the primary sponsor,” he said. “She’s done a remarkable job in terms of her approach to overcoming the situation and passing that strength on to others.”
Anderson said that while the yearlong grant is distributed on a “one-time-only” basis, additional funding might be available in the future.
“We also have community health grants that, if administered, would allow the group to continue the work they are preparing to do,” said Anderson. “The award they received last week is paving the road for future grants.”
Arroyo-Allen has previously been in the national spotlight for her effort to eradicate the disease. A breast cancer survivor, she was one of five women chosen by the General Mills company in 2010 to be ambassadors for the “Pink Together” awareness campaign. Her image appeared on boxes of Cheerios, Fiber One and other cereals as part of the initiative.
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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