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October 17th, 2006 - Lea Terry

Support for the cure

Local businesses participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month to educate the masses while lending a hand to fight the disease

Maureen Nelson, a Chesapeake Energy Corp. employee, was hired at the company while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer after she'd been laid off from a job she'd had for 20 years. The company's insurance covered Nelson, and Chesapeake allowed her to adjust her work schedule to accommodate chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Chesapeake's support was a key part of her recovery, she said.

"I didn't have to worry about missing work for chemotherapy treatments or finding other employment, which allowed me to concentrate on my health and beating this disease," Nelson said. "My job kept me occupied and busy so I wasn't fixated on the disease and time seemed to pass faster."

Nearly everyone has been touched by breast cancer, whether their own illness or that of a friend or family member. For many local businesses, supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a way to not only give back to the community, but also to help fight a disease to which many of them have a connection.

At Chesapeake, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to educate employees about the disease and help prevent it. The company seized an opportunity about month four years ago when the Oklahoma Breast Care Center contacted them about bringing its mammogram mobile to the Chesapeake campus. It was so popular the company has continued to add events.

Chesapeake partners with St. Anthony Hospital to provide a mammography day, brings the Oklahoma Breast Care Center's mammogram mobile to campus twice, distributes breast cancer awareness-themed goody bags to all women at the company over age 35 and holds lunch seminars featuring local doctors who work in breast cancer treatment or research. The company also sponsors all employees in the annual Race for the Cure.

"Getting employees educated and encouraging them to take an active role in breast cancer screenings helps employees catch the disease in its earliest stages

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