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Jamison, cancer survivors lead MSF Parade

Jeanine Pesto Jamison will serve as Grand Marshal in the 2016 Madison Street Festival Parade on Oct. 1. CONTRIBUTED
Jeanine Pesto Jamison will serve as Grand Marshal in the 2016 Madison Street Festival Parade on Oct. 1. CONTRIBUTED
MADISON – On Oct. 1 at 9 a.m., the Madison Street Festival Parade will feature thrilling sounds of marching bands and heartwarming sights of local youngsters, along with the promise of hope for survivors of breast cancer.
The 2016 parade’s Grand Marshall, Jeanine Pesto Jamison, is very honored with her role.
“I know so many people who have bravely fought the battle against breast cancer, and I’m not any different or more special than they,” Jamison said. “I realize I’m going to be a representative for all of the community to show we are ONE in our fight against this awful disease.”
Fellow cancer survivors Wanda Berry, Pat Cross and Debra Kline will join Jamison on their special parade float.
Jamison said it’s not only important for the survivors to ride together, but “it is critical. I’m one of millions who are diagnosed with breast cancer. No one wants to face this disease alone.”
“We must stick together to show our support in the bad times, as well as the successes,” Jamison said. “I just finished radiation this week for the fifth time. I’ve had many different chemotherapy treatments, yet the cancer grows. Without the camaraderie of other survivors and fighters, it would be easy to lose hope.”
“Their float is decorated in pink with a large backdrop of a breast cancer ribbon,” MSF Parade Chair Debbie Hoover said. “The riders will be wearing boas and tiaras, as well as breast cancer awareness pins.”
MSF Steering Committee selected this theme to highlight October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “This year, the MSF committee also is showing their support by wearing pink shirts,” Hoover, who is a registered nurse, said.
Following the parade, the MSF opening ceremony will be held at the Madison Gazebo. “If I’m feeling up to staying, you bet I’ll be there!” Jamison said.
As of Sept. 29, only two days before the festival, Jamison was “feeling puny. That’s the honest truth. I was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer in December 2001. My body has been through a lumpectomy, bilateral mastectomy, hysterectomy, two port placement surgeries, multiple reconstruction attempts and countless chemical therapies. I wonder how I can even be standing.”
Jamison credits “top-notch care by Clearview Cancer Institute (CCI), Dr. Marshall Schreeder, LeighAnn Childress, Donna Jobe and countless others employed at CCI. Most importantly though, GRACE has pulled me through this far. I have so many people praying for me and cheering me on, that no one will ever question that a higher power, my God, has held my hand through this journey.”
“I want to thank the Madison Street Festival council for acknowledging the need to keep up the awareness of this hideous disease. There is hope! A diagnosis is frightening, but there are so many who can help you along your way,” Jamison said.
This year, MSF Steering Committee will donate $1,000 dollars to Madison Hospital’s Breast Cancer Awareness Department.
Breast cancer occurs mainly in women; however, men can develop the disease.
“Many people do not realize that men have breast tissue and can develop breast cancer,” Hoover said. “Less than 1 percent of all breast cancers occur in men. For men, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.”
Hoover noted that men receive the same treatments for breast cancer as women.
For more information, visit madisonstreetfestival.org.

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