The John Wayne Cancer Foundation (JWCF) has awarded a major grant to the Arizona Myeloma Network (AzMN) to support the organization’s 5th Annual Navajo Nation Cancer Awareness and Advocacy Conference. This is the fifth year the JWCF has awarded a grant to AZMN. This free conference will be held at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, AZ on Saturday, June 23, 2012 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided, and 6 CME/CEU credits will be available for healthcare professionals who are attending this outstanding cancer education event.
“The John Wayne Cancer Foundation has been committed to our cancer conference from the beginning,” states AzMN President Barbara Kavanagh. “Support from JWCF, in addition to other key sponsors, is what allows us to present programs for cancer education and awareness to the Navajo Nation each year. Our work is helping to change the way cancer is perceived on the Navajo Nation. People are now openly discussing cancer, and learning that early detection and treatment is available and effective.” Many hundreds of cancer survivors, families, caregivers and healthcare providers have traveled from all 4 Corners of the Navajo Nation – Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado, to learn and to share their cancer journey.
A grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Phoenix Chapter, in 2008 made it possible for AzMN to start the Diné Women Helping Women (DWHW) program, which has trained over 50 women and men to give presentations about cancer prevention, early detection, screening and mammograms on the Navajo Nation. The DWHW program is coordinated by Jacquelyn Arviso, a Navajo woman who first volunteered for DWHW after her grandmother passed away from breast cancer.
“I came to a meeting, listened to the possibilities of what an outreach program would do for the community, and immediately decided that this was something we needed for our people. There was nothing like Diné Women Helping Women on the Navajo Reservation, and to get support, training and to be able to educate our people was something that I had to be a part of,” she states.
Jacquelyn works closely with AzMN, as well as local resources: Davina Segay, Navajo Health Educator, and Dr. Patricia Lowery, Surgeon, and Gail Oglesbee, RN and Cancer Case Manager, both with the Fort Defiance Indian Hospital, among others. “The DWHW volunteers set up information booths at community health fairs, rodeos, Chapter houses and also do presentations in work settings,” says Arviso.
The Conference faculty includes cancer researchers and leaders from the Mayo Clinic, AZ Cancer Center, NAU, and Fort Defiance Indian Hospital, as well as traditional healers, and health educators. Key sponsors include: Fry’s Food Stores, Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation, Millennium Pharmaceutical, Sanofi-Aventis, Chevron Mining, the Leukemia Lymphoma Society (LLS), and the John C. Lincoln Hospital/Young Cancer Survivors program, among others.