Dr. Mike Figueroa is one of the founders of Think Pink Day. The event started in 1997 when a group in Redding realized how crucial early detection was for breast cancer victims and decided they needed to get the word out.
"I started noticing that there were a lot of women diagnosed with breast cancer at very late stages, stage 3, stage 4. Once it gets to that stage level many of these cancers can't be cured. If you find an abnormality in your breast, you've got to get to your doctor, get that mammogram and get it taken care of. As soon as you get it done your chances of being cured are very, very high," says Figueroa.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer has a 98% cure rate when found early, and Think Pink organizers are hopeful that by providing information to the community they can make a positive impact. When Think Pink started in the north state, they distributed 500 bags in their first year. This event now spans several counties and more than 40,000 bags will be handed out this year. The bags contain tips and information about early detection. Medical experts say women between the ages of 20 and 39 should be examined by a doctor every 3 years, and those over 40 should be having exams annually. Breast cancer survivors, like Ruth Longworth, say catching it early and staying positive are vital to beating the disease.
"Fight for it, fight for it. If they get down, they're done. You've got to keep their spirits up and you've got to keep going," she says.
Think Pink Day will wrap up tonight with the lighting of the Sundial Bridge in Redding at 6:30 p.m.