Hundreds Screened During Cancer Center’s Fest for Life

Early Bird mobile screening clinic rededicated, ready to roll many more miles


(Baton Rouge, La.) More than 520 people courageously faced their fears and proactively took charge of their health by participating in Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center’s eighth annual Fest for Life in April. This year’s event also marked the rededication of the Early Bird mobile screening unit, one of the Cancer Center’s greatest assets in the early detection of cancer.

Fest for Life, held in recognition of Minority Cancer Awareness Week, each year offers free access to basic cancer screenings and other health tests and information. Cancer screenings include breast, prostate, skin, colorectal and oral cavity, along with blood pressure and glucose checks. Food, entertainment and children’s activities were also included at no cost.

“The goal of Fest for Life is to detect cancer and other diseases early so we can more effectively impact outcomes; we could not be happier that so many people in the community took advantage of this easy way to access various health services in one convenient location,” said Johnnay Benjamin, the Cancer Center’s early detection and education director. “None of it would be possible without our generous sponsors and the many other supporters who gave of their resources, time and talents to help save lives.”

This year’s event also included the rededication of the Early Bird mobile health clinic. The Early Bird, which began rolling in 2006, is used by the Cancer Center to offer free screenings throughout Greater Baton Rouge communities. With a lead grant from The Hearst Foundation, one of the largest national funders in the U.S., the Early Bird was refurbished to offer greater comfort, efficiency and functionality for cancer screenings. With this gift, The Heart Foundation challenged the Cancer Center to identify an additional $100,000 for other local funders who understand the importance of the mobile cancer screening program to the community. Additional grants of $50,000 each were provided by the BP Future of the Gulf Fund and the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation.

As the Gulf South destination for cancer care, Mary Bird Perkins—Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center offers advanced technology and services provided by nationally-recognized doctors and other oncology health professionals who have dedicated their lives to fighting the disease. The Cancer Center is consistently recognized for its dedication to offering leading-edge, comprehensive care at every stage of the cancer journey.