ATLANTA, GA. – With Engines raised and kick-stands up the Omega Psi Phi motorcycle riders launched an active campaign to roll over cancer in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Health experts, community activists, and political leaders joined the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s, Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative, Atlanta Chapters and Project Friendship, Inc., to bring cancer awareness and health education sessions to the Omega World Center in Decatur, Georgia. Anthony Davis, Health Initiative Chairman, Phi Kappa Kappa Chapter led the bikers from Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia around I-285 of Atlanta while the health exposition facilitator Oliver Barker conducted sessions where U.S. House of Representatives, the Honorable Congressman Henry “Hank” Johnson (D-GA) gave details of health care legislation and how it affected the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Congressman Johnson emphasized the importance for all Americans to be able to receive health care. He discussed how partisan politics in Georgia and Washington DC kept the ACA out of the State of Georgia. He also urged voters to tell their legislators to continue to improve and keep the ACA. Emmett Turner of the Alabama Regional Health Medical Services joined the ACA panel and provided statistics and life changing health care stories where millions of Americans who before ACA never had health insurance now receives treatment.
Local health care provider Candaze Barker, Nurse Practitioner and a Capstone Medical Group representative described how individuals’ reluctance to take preventive measures cause cancer related issues to magnify. American Cancer Society’s Tonya Phillips engaged the audience during the breast and prostate cancer discussions with informative health care practices that could lead to early detection of cancer. She stated one of the simplest actions patients can take is to “tell their doctors about their family health history.”
Also, the audience was informed that patients should identify to their doctor major defects in internal body functions and identify abnormal external tissue growth which normally signals something is not right.
Brittany Torke, Certified Nurse Midwife and Torri M. Johnston, Enabling Services and Community Relations representative both of the Oakhurst Medical Center, provided insight on symptoms patients can look for to detect breast cancer. One unique discussion aired was the need for spouses’ support during cancer identification and treatment. Mary Washington, spouse of a prostate cancer survivor, detailed the benefits of having a support group and how family alienation by cancer victims can complicate the healing process.
The health expo also tackled the forbidden fruit of mental health. The Brother You’re on My Mind mental health session headed by Dr. Tabitha D. Ball, Licensed Clinical Psychologist of Unique and Innovative Solutions and Benjamin McAfee, a National Institute of Health Intern, challenged the health expo attendees to overcome the stigmas associated with mental health. Dr. Ball relayed how mental health patients fear receiving treatment because of society’s labels of being inadequate, crazy and dysfunctional. She encouraged people to seek help in the simplest manner; for example, talking to a certified counselor in order to be able to manage the mental challenges they face. Mr. McAfee related personal encounters with mental health disorders and how treatment can change behavior.