Louisiana is known for its fun, legendary festivals and events with unique spins on food, music and culture. However, ten years ago, something different premiered in Baton Rouge, offering an innovative approach to presenting cancer and other health topics with the same kind of flair. The annual event, Fest for Life, commenced in 2008, setting a new tone for delivering free cancer screenings, changing the way many people view these tests.
Hundreds are expected for this year’s tenth anniversary of Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center’s Fest for Life, Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Bon Carre’ Business Center, 7359 Florida Blvd. And living up to its reputation for a good time, East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome will kick off the event with a with a second line parade at 9:45 a.m. in honor of Fest for Life’s 10th anniversary.
Entertainment, food and games are all are a part of the scene and have become synonymous with the one-day health event, making potentially intimidating cancer screenings, fun.
Longtime Fest for Life participant Sharon Lindsey, a budding screenwriter, says that she began attending Fest for Life in 2013 to help ensure a healthier future. After losing her father to prostate cancer and having had numerous other relatives fight the disease, she takes no chances when it comes to her health.
“Over the years, I’ve brought my sister and nephews with me to Fest for Life because there’s something for everyone,” said Lindsey. “We’ve danced and enjoyed the food, but most of all we attended because of the screenings. It was a relief to know that we are in the clear, and now we are more educated on what we can do to help prevent cancer.”
Each year, Fest for Life offers five types of cancer and other life-saving health screenings and education, along musical entertainment, food, games for the kids and much more—all for free. Since Fest for Life began, more than 4,800 cancer screenings have been performed and 15 cancers have been detected. The event is part of the Cancer Center’s Prevention on the Go program.
Click here for more information on Fest for Life, or call (225) 215-1234.
Celebrating of 10 years of saving lives through cancer early detection
(Baton Rouge, La.) A decade ago, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center launched a community health initiative, Fest for Life, which today has grown into a large-scale event that has screened more than 4,800 people for cancer and other diseases. Hundreds are expected for this year’s tenth anniversary of Fest for Life, Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Bon Carre’ Business Center, 7359 Florida Blvd., where free cancer screenings and tests for other diseases, health education and resources, food, entertainment and more will be offered for the entire family.
Fest for Life began in 2008 as a way to provide racial and ethnic minorities and others disproportionately impacted by cancer with free, easy access to potentially lifesaving services. Over the last few years, Fest for Life’s audience has expanded to offer even more people, regardless of minority or insurance status, convenient access to early detection services.
East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, who is serving as the 2017 honorary chair of Fest for Life and has been involved with the event since its early years, commends the Cancer Center for its efforts, especially with Louisiana residents experiencing some of the highest cancer mortality rates in the nation.
“There is a growing need for these kinds of early detection and education services, and in many cases people would not receive them if it weren’t for Fest for Life. Because of this event, cancers are being caught early; lives are being saved,” said Broome. “I’m so proud to be a part of this effort. Its impact is really immeasurable because not only are many people in the Greater Baton Rouge accessing screenings, early detection programs throughout the country are emulating this model to deliver their services. ”
Johnnay Benjamin, director of early detection and education for the Cancer Center, says 15 people have been diagnosed with cancer through Fest for Life, and other diseases have been detected as well.
“Fest for Life’s focus is certainly on cancer early detection, but its scope goes beyond this one disease and addresses the many health problems impacting our city’s residents,” said Benjamin. “In addition to cancer, mortality rates continue to soar due to conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, and we provide screenings for all of these diseases.”
In addition to the health aspects of the event, Benjamin says that there has always been a focus on making Fest for Life an outing that the whole family can enjoy. Food, entertainment and children’s activities are all included at no cost, thanks to Karnival Krewe de Louisiane, the event’s presenting sponsor, along with other generous donors. As a special attraction in celebration of the 10th anniversary, Broome will kick off a second line parade at 9:45 a.m. at the event.
All screenings are available to those who have not been screened for cancer in the past 12 months. Appointments are required for breast cancer screenings only. To make an appointment, please call (225) 215-1234 or (888) 616-4687. For additional information about this event and other upcoming screenings, please visit marybirdlake.org.
About Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center
As a regional destination for cancer care, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center offers the most advance technology and services provided by a dedicated team of nationally-recognized oncology experts. The Cancer Center provides best-practice, comprehensive care at every stage of the cancer journey, including disease site-specific multidisciplinary care teams, a robust clinical research program, extensive supportive care services and is the only facility in the Gulf South with the revolutionary Leksell Gamma Knife®Icon™. As a nonprofit organization, donor generosity is essential to sustaining the mission of improving survivorship and lessening the burden of cancer for so many throughout Southeast Louisiana and beyond. For more information on the Cancer Center, and how you can become involved, please visit mbpolol.org.
We’re embracing an 80s-style #WayBackWednesday in anticipation of the Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center’s signature fundraiser, The Taste, on March 29. Here are eight reasons why The Taste is the most delicious event of 2017.
100% Fundraising Efficiency
Every dollar raised benefits patients, allowing us to serve them and their families in the most impactful way. Donor funding has provided support for early detection, education, survivorship, research and patient assistance. Since 2013, The Taste has raised nearly $700,000 for Cancer Center patients.
A Most Excellent Auction
Our live and silent auctions include a wide range of exciting items including sports experiences, local art, jewelry, gifts for kids, and so much more!
A Totally Awesome Theme
This year we are throwing it back to the 80s for a rad night out. Guest are encouraged to come in casual cocktail wear or have fun with 80s attire!
Come hungry like the wolf to The Taste because our food and beverage sponsors include The Chimes Restaurant & Tap Room, City Pork Brasserie & Bar, Rock-n-Sake Baton Rouge, Nothing Bundt Cakes and many more! Guests can sample delicious cuisine from more than twenty local eateries. We’re throwing it back to classic capital area restaurants and even introducing hot new hits on the food scene, like Southfin Southern Poké.
A Boss Band
Werewolf, the legendary 80’s cover band, will have the dance floor warmed up and ready for you to bust a move!
365 Days of Giving Wall
At The Taste you can purchase a day in honor of someone you love. A birthday, anniversary or special day in your life can be marked by your commitment to fighting cancer. You can also win up to a $1,000 Lee Michaels shopping spree with your purchase of a day. How? You’ll have to play to find out!
Rad Committee and Sponsors
Our committee and presenting sponsors fight for your right to party! They have ensured a fun filled evening for a good cause.
The Taste is the best place in Baton Rouge to have fun and save lives. Get your tickets now to experience a night on the town and make an impactful difference in lives of thousands of patients in our community.