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“This is all about prevention.”

Jun 15, 2021

Gov. Ralph Northam discusses colon cancer with Massey representatives Northam pictured speaking with Sheppard (left) and Lawrence (center).

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has connected with members of the VCU Massey Cancer Center team several times since his January 2018 inauguration. For the first time, however, a walk-through inflatable colon was the backdrop on June 4, 2021.

Northam stopped by the Massey tent and colon cancer awareness exhibit at the Community Resource Day, organized by Radio One during the 14th annual Send A Kid 2 Camp Radiothon on stations including 99.3/105.7 KISS FM, iPowerRichmond and Praise 104.7 FM. The event took place at the St. Luke Legacy Center in Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood.

Northam spoke at length with the Massey Community Outreach and Engagement health squad led onsite by Vanessa Sheppard, Ph.D., chair and professor of the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at VCU School of Medicine as well as associate director for community outreach, engagement and health disparities and the Theresa A. Thomas Memorial Chair in Cancer Prevention at VCU Massey.

Sheppard and Lawrence Sheppard and Lawrence

“We understand fear has kept some people from reaching out to us, so we are taking cancer information to them, where they live,” Sheppard told Northam about Massey’s participation in the Jackson Ward event. “This conversation has to happen among families, among neighbors.”

In a recorded message to the public, Northam acknowledged Massey’s work. “Thank you so much for all that Massey is doing not only for Richmond but also for the commonwealth of Virginia,” Northam stated. “And you know, this is all about prevention. It’s about getting out into the communities, educating people as far as the risk factors and getting in for the testing that they need. And if we catch these cancers early, then we can prevent problems down the road. So I encourage everybody to participate in that and take advantage of all the great things that Massey is doing.”

Massey took part in the Community Resource Day at the invitation of Radio One broadcast journalist “Miss Community Clovia” Lawrence, who co-hosts a monthly segment on cancer and health disparity topics with VCU Massey Cancer Center director Robert Winn, M.D. “From talking with Dr. Winn, I learned more about all the prevention work going on at Massey,” said Lawrence about her partnership with Massey. “I didn’t know that before and can let others know you don’t have to be afraid.”

Written by: Amy Lacey

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