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Record Online - May 2010

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One step at a time

walkersOn May 1 a group of caring people gave a portion of their morning to pound the pavement for two miles. Why? The event was the Dallas Oral Cancer Walk. The group's goal was to raise awareness about oral cancer and the importance of oral cancer screenings.

Oral cancer kills more than 7,000 Americans each year. It contributes to more deaths annually than cervical and skin cancer. Yet it has been called an "orphan disease" until recent years because there has been little effort to adopt the cause or educate the public about it and champion the disease's defeat. With the help of the Oral Cancer Foundation, oral cancer walks scheduled around the nation are changing the path of this disease one step at a time.

Members of the Student National Dental Association chapter at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry adopted the challenge of fighting this "orphan disease" for a second year. In collaboration with the members of Concord Baptist Church in Dallas, the students organized the walk and provided oral cancer screenings as part of the church's "Make a Difference Day" events. 

"This was a win-win event for everyone involved," says Danyelle Scott, vice president of SNDA at HSC-Baylor College of Dentistry. "We (the students) were able to provide a valuable health service for the members of the church and local community. We were especially interested in working with Concord Baptist Church. They are a large congregation with an extensive network of contacts in a predominantly black community. Figures show that oral cancer disproportionately affects African-American men. With this event, we were able to provide oral cancer screenings and raise oral cancer awareness to our target demographic."

A total of $800 was raised by the 32 people who participated in the walk. Proceeds will be given to the Oral Cancer Foundation. 

The SNDA members wish to thank the following people for making the event possible: Dr. Stephen Crane, Leeanna Bartlett, Dr. Lavern Holyfield, Dr. Ernie Lacy, Dr. Reginald Taylor and the Communications and Institutional Advancement staff.

Additional pictures from the event can be seen on the HSC-BCD Facebook page.


group photo of participants

students at screening
     Oral Cancer Walk participants before the event. HSC-BCD students at the health fair.