Tyler, TX (KYTX) -- Hard work by a group of women helping save lives gets rewarded today. The Texas Hospital Association chooses ETMC for its excellence in community service award. It's thanks to the Pin-A-Sister campaign.
It's been 10 years since Hattie Mitchell first got the news that she had breast cancer.
"I didn't have a panic attack or anything, I just told him what are we gonna do next?" Mitchell said.
Fortunately, doctors detected the 69-year-old's cancer in her left breast early."I had a mammogram every year," Mitchell said.
She says that regular screening, and her faith, is why she's still here today.
"Without a mammogram, if you have cancer, it's going to do nothing but get worse," Mitchell said.
She went through 33 radiation treatments, 3 rounds of chemo, and a lumpectomy. Now with a clean bill of health, she says she's noticed many women don't take mammograms seriously.
"Especially among the African American community, I don't know why, many are afraid of a mammogram," Mitchell said.
That's where the Pin-A-Sister program comes in, to educate black women. "I had a very dear cousin, she was more like a sister to me and she died from breast cancer, and died because she didn't get a mammogram. By the time they diagnosed it, it was too late," Mitchell said.
That tragedy spurred Regina Davis to create Pin-A-Sister in 2010.
"It's good to have a breast cancer survivor talk about look, I got it, but I'm still here," Davis said.
Since it started, a total of 6500 black women in Smith County have worn a pin, pledging they'll get an annual mammogram.