Health Lead Story West Edition

Cancer survivors share their stories during annual walk

COMPTON — Some people turned out for the sixth annual Compton Walk for a Cure event Oct. 14 at Walton Middle School to share their own personal story of battling breast cancer.

The deadly disease doesn’t just hit middle age women or attack the elderly. Men suffer from it. The young aren’t immune from it, either.

Keiana Todd was just in her 20s when breast cancer came knocking on her doorsteps. Todd learned of her diagnosis in June 2013. Compton’s annual walk about breast cancer awareness is for everyone, she said.

“I’m a survivor, so I came to support the walk and city,” Todd said. “It’s great to see the city do something positive, and it’s a great outcome.”

Some individuals like Steve Todd showed up just to support the event, which drew a crowd of several hundred people. Todd, coach of the Imani Speed City Track Club and Keiana Todd’s uncle, said the event is pivotal in creating awareness for Compton residents.

“This brings awareness to the community,” Steve Todd said. “It’s like a thing that people don’t really know about it or care about it until after it hits home. Once it hits home, then it becomes real; it’s a real thing. The early detection is better for you.”

There were others who were there to share and to embrace the moment to help bring awareness to cancer. October is generally recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so the color pink was in high demand.

About 800 Compton residents participated in the sixth annual Compton Walk for a Cure Oct. 14 at Walton Middle School. The walk has been organized for six years by the Zurita sisters, who serve on the Compton city council and school board, respectively.
(Photo by Dennis J. Freeman)

Leading the fight in Compton for the past six years has been Compton City Councilwoman Janna Zurita and her sister Satra Zurita, who is the school board president for the Compton Unified School District.

“This is our sixth annual breast cancer walk,” Councilwoman Zurita said. “My sister and I … want to educate the community on early detection.

“Early detection is key in survival of breast cancer. So, we come together once a year and we have a lot of the women and families out here that have been with us all six years. Early detection is key.”

Early detection is probably what saved Satra Zurita. In an emotional testimony to the large crowd, Zurita talked about her own personal battle with breast cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer while undergoing a routine mammogram. She underwent surgery for a double mastectomy, and now she is sharing her story with others.

“I can’t stress enough how important early detection is,” Satra Zurita said. “I credit the insurance I got. I’m going to be a greater advocate for affordable health care for everybody, because I had health care that took care of me.

“But had I not bought that $36 cancer insurance, I might not be here today like I am. The incentive was if you get your regular mammogram, they’ll give you a hundred dollars. … I did it. They found it. It was the size of a pea. I knew how important advocacy was, but I know what kind of victims we are as patients. I know how it is when you have to fight with your doctor, you have to fight with the hospital administration.”