Editor’s note: It’s time once again to “Think Pink” in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You’ll notice the pink cover on today’s edition of the Citizen and the story below sharing the good news about treatment options available to area residents.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month brings local businesses, volunteers, charitable organizations and others together each October to raise funds for cancer research and encourage preventive measures like breast self-exams and regular mammograms.

In the spirit of “Thinking Pink,” a portion of the proceeds from advertising sales in today’s edition will go to Southern Regional Medical Center, Piedmont Healthcare Foundation-Henry/Newton and the Kimberley Chance Atkins Foundation to help those who are battling breast cancer.

COVINGTON — Because cancer treatment is more than just medical care and routine doctors appointments, Piedmont Newton and cancer navigator Wendy Hankins will kick off the hospital’s very own Cancer Wellness Program just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In 2016, Hankins and Shona Fincher, supervisor of the Women’s Diagnostic Center, visited Piedmont Newnan to meet with cancer navigator Stephanie Martin.

“At each Piedmont hospital, there is a cancer navigator,” said Hankins. “And while we all have similarities, our roles are fine-tuned for what our patients need.”

While visiting Newnan, Martin showed Hankins and Fincher the Cancer Wellness Program center. “They had big a beautiful space with separate classrooms, a nice kitchen, all these things that seemed to really have a deep impact on their patients,” said Hankins. “Stephanie said it started out small, but over the course of five years or so, it really just snowballed. And I just thought that it would be great if Newton had a program, too.”

Hankins met with Piedmont’s Executive Director of Oncology Linda Van Der Merwe and other leaders to start making strides towards opening a program at Newton.

“We are just taking baby steps, and we will see what our community needs and has interest in and hope to grow from there,” she said.

But this program is not a result of just Piedmont or Hankins.

“It has taken a lot of feedback, collaboration, community involvement and support,” said Hankins. “We did surveys and questionnaires to see what patients wanted; our classes are led by organizations and individuals in our community who have chosen to donate their time; and we have relied a lot on donations and fundraising.”

The program is open to anyone who has been affected by cancer regardless of whether they receive medical services from Piedmont. The program includes free services such as yoga instructed by Moxie Fitness, cooking demos led by Georgia State students in the nutritional science program, expressive art classes, massage services and community support groups. All activities require registration.

The next class will be Gentle Yoga on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 10 a.m.

In 2019, there have been 65 breast cancer diagnoses at Piedmont Newton. Each patient is being represented with a pink ribbon at the main entrance in front of Highway 278 and Newton Drive.

Each month, hundreds of cancer patients, survivors and caregivers look to Piedmont for cancer wellness support.

To schedule an appointment with Piedmont Newton Women’s Diagnostic Center, call 770-385-4436.

For more information about programs and services provided by Piedmont and Piedmont Newton, visit piedmont.org/cancerwellness or call Wendy at 770-3850-7826.