Event co-founder Satra Zurita cuts the ribbon at the starting line of the 12th Annual Compton Walk for a Cure. (Courtesy photo)

On October 7, the 12th Annual Compton Walk for a Cure was held at Centennial High School. According to event co-founder Satra Zurita, “The walk was an opportunity for the community to come together to unite and raise awareness about breast cancer.”

Many organizations and food trucks came out to support the cause. The co-sponsors included St. John’s Community Health and Dusk to Dawn Urgent Care. Other participants were Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Compton Creek Mosquito Abatement District, and Compton College.

Many individuals came out to support friends or family with diagnosed with breast cancer. Some people in attendance had lost a loved one to the disease as well.

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The Centennial High Band performed, and the Compton Early College Band added to the festive mood. Another vendor was Sloane Stephens Foundation, which was founded by the professional tennis player to enhance the quality of life for youth through learning to play tennis.

More than 2000 people participated in the Walk for a Cure. (Courtesy photo)

The event was created by Satra Zurita, a member of Compton Unified School District, and her sister, Janna Zurita, a former Compton City Councilmember.   According to Satra, the event raised $50,000, which will go towards educating people about disease.

“The reason we started the Walk for a Cure in Compton was we knew of a 17-year-old young lady who was diagnosed with cancer,” explained Satra. “The young lady was going through treatments and had missed her senior exit exam by one point in her attempt to graduate from high school.

“The young lady and her mom were told she would not walk the graduation stage. They were also told that the young lady would not be able to go to any of the senior activities.

“We advocated for the young lady, and she graduated and was able to attend all senior events. We knew we must do something as our community is marginalized and people were dying, and the treatments used on other races were not helping us.”

All who attended the free event received pink t-shirts along with a pink bag. The attendees walked the track at Centennial High School with some walking one lap and others walking multiple laps.

Compton resident, Steve Logan said of the event, “I am walking for a friend who has cancer, and I am here to offer my support.”

Event co-Founder Janna Zurita stresses the importance of early detection for breast cancer. (Courtesy photo)

One of the sponsors Dusk to Dawn Urgent Care, owned and operated by Dr. Allen and his wife Connie Allen, stated that the exams given at the event showed that those tested had seven nodules, which was an improvement from 17 nodules found at one of the previous walks.

Nodules are a mass or growth in the breast.

Connie Allen said she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer stage one, and she is undergoing radiation treatment. She noted, “The diagnosis gave this walk a different meaning to me.”

Also, the Allens distributed literature on conducting breast self-exams in the mirror or laying down or in the shower.  “The education of the community we provide is working,” Satra said.

Angela Minniefield, CDU senior vice president/COO, said, “Our university does research and we are here to stand with the community to find a cure for cancer.”

St. John’s Community Health provided breast cancer screenings at the event. Joshua Leon, a St. John’s representative, stated, “It is always good to be informed.”

According to the American Cancer Society, Black women have the highest death rate from breast cancer and have a higher chance of developing breast cancer before the age of 40 than White women.

ACS recommends regular screening to increase chances of detecting the disease at its earliest stage. The organization’s guidelines advise women ages 45 to 54 to get mammograms every year.  Women 55 and older should have mammograms conducted every other year.

To learn more, visit cancer.org.

From left are Gail Smith, Armani Taylor, Janna Zurita, Satra Zurita, and Kameron Allen. (Courtesy photo)