By Emilie St. John
COMPTON — Compton school board member Satra Zurita will host the 12th annual Compton Walk for A Cure cancer walk Oct. 7 at Centennial High School.
The event aims to educate women on the importance of early detection of breast and includes health screenings.
The walk was founded by Zurita and her sister, Janna Zurita, who once served on the Compton City Council.
“Our mission at this year’s event is to illuminate the path towards early detection education for Black and brown women and through our dedicated efforts, we are bringing hope, awareness and the tools needed to ensure every woman’s journey begins with knowledge and empowerment,” Satra Zurita said. “As a six-year cancer survivor, I am living proof of the life-saving education.”
Zurita continues to share her personal story of being a breast cancer survivor and how educating others led to the early detection of her own diagnosis.
“In 2017, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and because it was found so early I was able to benefit from a lumpectomy, radiation and chemotherapy,” Zurita said.
A major component of the walk is women having the ability to have an ultrasound exam during the event.
The walk began after Zurita was contacted by a distraught mother of a 17-year-old student who was not going to be allowed to participate in senior activities and graduation because she didn’t pass the California High School Exit Exam, and it was discovered the student was recovering from breast cancer.
“My sister Janna and I decided to do something about educating the community on the importance of early detection, and here we are 12 years later, continuing to help the community,” Zurita said.
Zurita said she believes in the importance of educating women in urban communities about how early detection saves lives. The walk encourages women to get routine mammograms, and with monthly self-checks, substantially decrease the number of women dying from breast cancer, which affects African Americans and Latino at higher rates.
“One in eight women will get breast cancer this year, and early detection is a key to survival,” Zurita said.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Black women, and an estimated 33,840 new cases were diagnosed in 2019, with an estimated 6,540 deaths in 2019.
In 2020, 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer with 685,000 deaths around the world.
The Zuritas estimate their events have reached over 20,000 women, over the last decade, including last year’s which was held virtually due to the COVID pandemic.
“In 2018, over 260 women received on-site ultra sound screenings and 15 suspicious masses were found and these women were referred to their physicians,” Satra Zurita said. “An ultrasound is much more invasive than a mammogram and is rarely performed unless a patient has received a suspicious mammogram result.”
St. John’s Community Health is a co-sponsor of the event and will have a mobile clinic on site to assist with health screenings.
“St. John’s Community Health, and CEO Jim Mangia, are doing an excellent job of ensuring women in our community have access and equity in medical care,” Satra Zurita said. “St. John’s has three Compton clinics, including one on our Dominguez High School campus.”
The event will take place at Centennial High School. 2606 N. Central Ave., and will run from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at email@example.com.