U.S. Mayor Article

Galveston Mayor Teams Up with Community Activists and Fellow Mayors to Promote Prostate Cancer Awareness

September 10, 2001

Need met opportunity when Mayor Quiroga started Galveston's prostate cancer awareness initiative. He had long been concerned about the health risk that prostate cancer poses for his community, particularly for Galveston's sizable African American population. Therefore, he was prepared when community activist Glory Jackson asked him to take the lead on educating Galveston about prostate cancer because so many men were dying unnecessarily. Opening his brief case, he pulled out the Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (PCAM) promotion packet he had just received from the Conference of Mayors and presented it to Mrs. Jackson. Then and there, they decided to match Mayor Quiroga's efforts through the Mayors' Coalition for Prostate Cancer Awareness and Education with the activities of Mrs. Jackson's advocacy group, J.E.W.E.L.S. (Just Effort With Endless Love Supporting . . . ).

Mayor Quiroga and Mrs. Jackson came up with a multicultural program to promote prostate cancer awareness through churches and community events during PCAM and the rest of the year and to conduct screening through the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Mayor Quiroga summed up the need for his initiative by saying, "I want the people of Galveston to know that there is a deadly killer out there - - prostate cancer - - but that there are means to detect this disease and save lives. I am honored to lead this effort with Glory."

Integral to the program is the use of volunteers. As a public and private sector employer, Mayor Quiroga believes in giving his employees opportunities for volunteerism, and many are supporting Galveston's prostate cancer awareness activities.

Covering The County

Mayor Quiroga's objective is to extend his prostate cancer awareness program throughout Galveston County, with the ultimate goal being to address all cancers through J.E.W.E.L.S. Collaboration is well underway with Texas City Mayor Carlos Garza, and Mayor Quiroga invited all area mayors to join his PCAM kickoff press conference.

Weekly PCAM Events

Galveston is observing PCAM throughout the month of September with the following weekly events.

PCAM Kickoff: At his August 31 press conference, Mayor Quiroga urged Galveston County men to talk to their physicians about prostate cancer and to assist J.E.W.E.L.S. in raising awareness of this disease.

Cityside Cookout: Following the kickoff press conference, city employees volunteered for the Cityside Cookout, an event that raised funds for cancer patients in treatment and also heightened community awareness of prostate cancer. Held at the Paradigm Bank, of which Mayor Quiroga is president, bank employees — including Mrs. Jackson — also helped to make the event a resounding success.

City Hall: After Mayor Quiroga issued his September 7 PCAM proclamation at City Hall, J.E.W.E.L.S. volunteers appeared before the city council to talk about their goals for prostate cancer awareness in Galveston. Volunteers also distributed prostate cancer awareness materials to city employees and answered questions.

Shiloh Church: Shiloh Church, with a congregation of 2,500 members, feeds the community once a week. J.E.W.E.L.S. volunteers will distribute prostate cancer awareness materials to those being served by the church on September 12.

Galveston College: J.E.W.E.L.S. volunteers will distribute prostate cancer awareness materials to students and staff members of Galveston College on September 18 and will be available to answer questions.

Black Sunday: Black Sunday ("a blackout on cancer") will be held on September 23 with Mayor Quiroga taking the lead at his church and other volunteers following suit at their respective houses of worship. Pastors, wearing black arm bands, will talk about the importance of early detection for both prostate and breast cancer and will also help recruit more volunteers for J.E.W.E.L.S. Blue and pink ribbons will be entwined with a black ribbon and distributed to all persons attending services on Black Sunday. Contributions will be accepted for assisting cancer patients with obtaining necessities. This event will reach large numbers of people because Galveston has 38 churches, and some volunteers attend Houston churches.

Awareness Luncheon and Screening: Toward the end of the month, free screening for prostate cancer will be conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. An awareness luncheon entitled, "It's a Guy Thing: Not for Men Only," will be held for men and their partners at the screening facility.

A Faith-Based Focus for J.E.W.E.L.S.

As a breast cancer survivor and having experienced many cancer-related deaths in her family, Glory Jackson saw the need for a support group and started J.E.W.E.L.S. in 1991 while living in Los Angeles. Based in an African American church, she and seven other cancer survivors built an organization to help cancer patients and their families get through treatment. Two years later, she established a chapter in San Antonio and in 1995 she started the Galveston chapter.

While J.E.W.E.L.S. initially had an African American focus and currently works closely with the National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer, its mission is to serve all races and ethnic groups. Through its focus on conducting activities with churches, it has created an extensive community network for this purpose.

The J.E.W.E.L.S. approach has come to the attention of the Texas Department of Health, which has plans to fund 5 pilot sites throughout the state - - Austin, Dayton, Denton, Garland, and San Antonio.

Possible Statewide Mayors' Conference

The Texas Department of Health is also very interested in the collaborative approach that Mayor Quiroga is taking in Galveston County. Thought is being given to holding a conference of Texas mayors to enlist their support in raising awareness of cancer throughout the state.

Contact: Glory Jackson
Paradigm Bank
2424 Market Street
Galveston, Texas 77550
telephone: 409-762-2103
Fax: 409-762-9111
email: gjackson@paradigmbank.com

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