Big Bend Clinic Has Ties with CFO Seth Walker
Seth lost his mother to cancer, but her legacy lives on.
Pink ribbons pop up in October with the color being a reminder that it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And that color – since the early 2000s – has had more meaning for SRI Management’s CFO Seth Walker and his family.
Seth’s mother, Sharon, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 when she was just 33; she passed away in 2005 at the age of 42. At that time in Tallahassee, there was no digital mammogram machine. Women would have to travel to larger cities such as Jacksonville or Tampa for a digital mammogram.
“Mom was a big believer that early detection of breast cancer is what allowed her to beat cancer the first time,” Seth said. “This was difficult in the 1990s because the Tallahassee area did not have the cutting-edge equipment needed for early detection.”
When she passed after ten years of off-and-on remission and treatment, the Sharon Ewing Walker Breast Health Clinic was founded with funds raised in her name. The clinic brought the first digital mammogram machine to Tallahassee. Since then, the clinic has grown to a full program aimed at providing not just advanced screenings for preventive care but diagnostics and testing, state-of-the-art treatments, as well as breast health education and support programs, all from a single location with a dedicated support system.
The Walker Breast Program is Florida’s longest continuously accredited comprehensive community hospital cancer program and the Big Bend region’s only accredited breast program by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). The Walker Breast Program provides patients in the Big Bend region personalized, comprehensive, and compassionate care for breast health.
Today, the center diagnoses and treats 350+ cases of breast cancer every year.
“I know mom would be so proud because now women in our area have access to state-of-the-art equipment for early detection as well as specialized treatment options that previously were only available in larger cities,” Seth said. “Growing up we used to travel to Tampa regularly and occasionally as far as Texas for treatment. Now women have access to these types of treatments locally.”
As the color pink pops up around the Big Bend this year, plastic flamingos are making their second appearance in as many years.
The October #FlamingoChallenge is a lighthearted way to raise funds for local breast cancer patients, and SRI Management headquarters in Tallahassee is participating again this year.
More than 100 businesses, agencies, schools, and organizations, as well as dozens of individuals, participated in the challenge’s first year in 2020, raising over $40,000 to directly benefit patients of the Walker Breast Program at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.
Everyone in the community is invited to participate in the #PinkPower #FlamingoChallenge including businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals. The concept is simple: Once a challenge is accepted and the recipient receives a flock of flamingos, along with a yard sign or poster about the initiative, a photo with the flock should be posted to social media along with a fundraising pledge. No amount is too small, and 100% of these tax-deductible gifts directly support local patients fighting breast cancer.
“Mom is looking down on what’s happening, and I know she’s smiling,” Seth said. “It’s something that she would definitely have got involved in.”
For more information on how to donate or join the #FlamingoChallenge, visit https://www.tmh.org/tmh-foundation/ways-to-give/pinkpower/