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Wal-Mart Gives $2 Million to Fight Cancer in Underserved Communities

The Wal-Mart Foundation awarded the American Cancer Society with a two-million dollar grant to set up community health advisors in select under-served communities. The grant will provide $300,000 each to increase access to breast cancer screening for African American women in three communities – Jackson, Miss. (Hinds and Madison Counties); Minneapolis, Minn.; and Portsmouth, Va. Additionally, 30 communities in different rural and local areas across the country will each benefit from $30,000 grants to support existing community health advisor programs for breast and colon cancer screening.

The American Cancer Society states that more than half of cancer deaths could be prevented if more emphasis were given to external factors such as having a healthy lifestyles, including a healthy weight, diet and exercise, and avoiding tobacco. Early detection using cancer screening test is key as well.
“We are grateful to the Wal-Mart Foundation for its collaboration with the Society, and for this commitment of additional resources to help us deliver on our lifesaving mission within these communities,” said Terry Music, chief mission delivery officer, American Cancer Society. “The Wal-Mart Foundation’s community-based investment will help the Society make a positive impact in these communities by providing resources and information to help people stay well.”

According to the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts and Figures (2011), disparities in preventive actions predominantly arise from inequities in work, wealth, income, education, housing, and overall standard of living. Social barriers to high-quality cancer prevention, early detection and treatment services are inhibitors as well. More alarming is that societal members with a lower socioeconomic status are more likely to engage in behaviors that increase cancer risk such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, and poor diet due to environmental or community barriers, such as food deserts, to opportunities for physical activity.

The 30 recipient communities ($30,000 each) are: Pine Bluff, Ark.; Tucson, Ariz.; Eight Counties in California (Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Cruz, and Monterey); Miami, Fla.; Orlando, Fla. (two grants); Tallahassee, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; Savannah, Ga.; Chicago, Ill.; Eastern Kentucky; Detroit, Mich.; Tribal Communities in Michigan; Camden, N.J.; Newark, N.J.; Cortland, N.Y.; New York City, N.Y.; Charlotte, N.C.; Greenville, N.C.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; Harrisburg, Pa.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Charleston, S.C.; Columbia, S.C.; Greenville, S.C.; Houston, Texas; Houston, Texas (Montgomery County); Richmond, Va.; and Seattle, Wash.