Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ride Praise Party Bus to Stop Cancer

Dr. Gerald T. Hightower, senior pastor of Purpose Center International Ministries in Perris, is passionate about cancer prevention. He is shown here emceeing the 2008 Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference, a job he will have again when the conference returns to California Baptist University on Aug. 1. This year, Purpose Center International Ministries is also sponsoring a “Praise Party Bus” to take Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference participants to the Chino Relay for Life, where they can enroll in a long-term study conducted by the American Cancer Society, to find ways of preventing cancer. Photo by Chris Sloan

(CHINO Calif.) Immediately following the fifth annual Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference in Riverside, participants can join sponsor Purpose Center International Ministries on their next step to good health.

After the conference ends, Purpose Center International Ministries will provide round trip transportation by the Praise Party Bus to the Chino Relay for Life at Ayala Park, 14201 Central Ave. Chino. At this event, conference participants have an opportunity to enroll in the American Cancer Society’s CPS-3 (Cancer Prevention Study #3).

To reserve a seat on the Praise Party Bus, call (951) 300-1223. Music and free refreshments will be provided.

The Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference, which helps African-Americans and others develop strategies for healthier living, takes place at California Baptist University, from 8 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. The bus leaves the California Baptist University parking lot for Chino at 5 p.m. and returns to Riverside at approximately 8 p.m.

For Dr. Gerald T. Hightower, senior pastor of Purpose Center International Ministries, preventing cancer is personal. His mom is a cancer survivor.

“My mom had a very serious bout with cancer two years ago, and required a mastectomy,” he said. “Fortunately, after her mastectomy and a lot of prayer, she recovered and is healed! Cancer prevention is my passion now, and that’s why I want to encourage all the pastors to have their congregations come and participate in the CPS -3 Enrollment Event at the Chino Relay for Life.”

“CPS-3 is a research study to help bring about a cancer-free tomorrow,” said Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference founder and organizer Phyllis Clark. “The American Cancer Society needs more African-Americans to participate. The Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference and Purpose Center International Ministries, both of which serve primarily African-Americans, are supporting by recruiting participants and providing transportation.”

Since otherwise willing participants can enroll immediately following the Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference, by providing transportation, it takes away the excuses conference participants might have of not having transportation outside the area served by Riverside County’s bus service, or not wanting to drive their own cars to and from a city more than 20 miles away.

“The Chino Relay for Life is the only opportunity in our area for people to enroll in this study. It is really important for African-Americans to enroll, so I don’t want them to use transportation as an excuse,” Clark said. “If African-Americans cannot participate, we cannot study the links between their lifestyle and cancer. I encourage all the community leaders and pastors to reach out and challenge African-Americans to join in this study and save lives.”

For CPS-3, the American Cancer Society seeks 500,000 adults from the United States and Puerto Rico. They should be between 30 and 65 years old, and have never been diagnosed with cancer. They also must be willing to make a long-term commitment, as participation requires follow-up studies every few years for the next 10 to 20 years.

At the Chino Relay for Life, they will read and sign a consent form, complete a brief written survey, provide a waist measurement and a small blood sample drawn by a certified phlebotomist. In about four weeks, they will receive an in-depth survey in the mail. Upon completion and return of this survey, Clark said, they are officially enrolled in the CPS-3 study, and should expect to receive more in-depth surveys over the years.

The American Cancer Society has conducted two previous cancer prevention studies, the first in 1950.

“These studies have played a major role in cancer prevention and legislation since then,” Clark said. “The first study showed the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. This prompted the U.S. Surgeon General’s warning on cigarette package. These studies also showed a link between obesity and cancer, which has helped us develop prevention strategies.”

Relays for Life are events the American Cancer Society holds throughout the nation to raise money for cancer research. Teams of eight to 15 members participate by raising a minimum of $10 per team member in donations, then run or walk laps on a track throughout the 24-hour duration of the Relay for Life event.

While the American Cancer Society holds relays in hundreds of other cities throughout each year, only a few of them include an opportunity to enroll in the CPS-3 study. The only other opportunity to register in the Inland Empire was at a relay that took place in April in Yucca Valley.

For more information about the CPS-3 study, visit www.cancer.org/cps3 or call (888) 604-5888.

Besides speakers, workshops and Praise Party Bus transportation to Chino Relay for Life, participants in the Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference will be able to obtain information from local health care providers, and receive basic health screenings and referrals for other free or low-cost preventive health care services.

The 2009 conference is limited to 200 people, so advance registration is necessary. For more information or make a reservation to attend the Healthy Heritage Wellness Conference call (951) 288-4375 or e-mail hhwcmovement@yahoo.com

Sponsorships for this year’s conference are still available. They include The American Cancer Society, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Purpose Center International Ministries, City of Hope, the Riverside Community Health Foundation, Inland Agency, Abbott Vascular, and Dameron Communications.