ATL marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month with free screenings, ‘Survivor Celebration’

ATL marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month with free screenings, ‘Survivor Celebration’


By Anika Robertson
Senior Editor/Assistant Public Relations Manager

Leaders from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), along with team members and community supporters, went pink Thursday, Oct. 27, hosting the Airport’s first Survivor Celebration to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This effort, sponsored by the ATL Concessions program, provided free breast cancer screenings on-site to uninsured employees as well as education to survivors and attendees.

“When we think of breast cancer, we don’t often associate it with the word ‘celebration,’” said ATL Director of Security Jan Lennon. “But thanks to advancements in modern medicine, national campaigns to promote early detection and education, and the meritorious work of groups such as Sisters By Choice, I’m here today to tell you this is a celebration. It’s a celebration of all the women and men from all walks of life who have fought – and continue to fight – breast cancer with courage and dignity.”

Sisters By Choice is an Atlanta-based, nonprofit organization focused on breast cancer education and awareness. Its founder, Dr. Rogsbert Phillips-Reed, is a renowned breast surgeon who has been practicing for more than 30 years and has spent more than two decades advocating for breast health in underserved communities.

“As we look at where we are today in treating this disease, we can say that yes, we have made significant strides and we can say that the successes have translated into more survivors,” Phillips-Reed said. “Over the past two decades, we have emphasized how important early detection is.”

Breast screenings were conducted in the Sisters By Choice mobile breast clinic, a state-of-the-art facility positioned outside of the International Terminal for the day. It holds two examination rooms, a waiting area, vitals area and imaging room. The mobile breast clinic facilitates remote screening and diagnostic services, treatment referrals, education and access to clinical trials. Complimentary appointments also took place Oct. 19 for Airport workers.

The event, which honored breast cancer survivors and awareness supporters, also offered a personal perspective from one of ATL’s own. Chermaine Axam, assistant manager of community affairs, shared her story of survival and hope.

“Many of you know me as your co-worker and friend,” she said. “I am known to others as a daughter, sister, mother, wife and a 14-year breast cancer survivor.”

As facilitator of the Sisters By Choice Emory Midtown support group, Axam has “channeled my energy to help other survivors and their families who are in need of guidance, encouragement, (and) conversation.”

Concessions Marketing Manager Demetria Wideman spearheaded the inaugural Survivor Celebration for the Airport, emphasizing the need for all to engage in self-care to increase health and longevity.

“Getting involved with Breast Cancer Awareness Month encourages women to remember the importance of being screened,” she said, “especially in an environment as busy as the Airport, where many times we forget to take time out for ourselves.”

Wideman said this year, ATL partnered with Sisters By Choice because a number of women at the Airport lack insurance or the means to get screened.

“Bringing the mobile breast cancer screening clinic to our doorstep made it convenient and comfortable for women to be seen by a specialist and receive care that they may not seek otherwise,” she said. “Ending the month celebrating women who have survived breast cancer was our way of telling these heroes at the world’s busiest airport that we support their fight and appreciate all that they do to encourage early detection as a means of saving lives.”

Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. Each year, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with the disease.

Karen Nunnally, an eight-year breast cancer survivor and a member of Sisters By Choice Emory Midtown support group, offered simple advice for women and men.

“Please get checkups and please get your mammograms,” she said. “Since this was the first event at Hartsfield-Jackson, I really appreciate the Airport for taking the time and spending the resources to recognize and increase the awareness of breast cancer and how it affects lives.”

For more information on Sisters By Choice, visit


ATL marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month with free screenings, ‘Survivor Celebration’

Clockwise from top: As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) partnered with Sisters By Choice to bring its mobile breast clinic to the world’s busiest airport for two days in October. The mobile breast clinic facilitates remote screening, particularly to underinsured members of the community. The Airport held its first Survivor Celebration on Oct. 27 to honor those who fight — and continue to fight — breast cancer. Many wore pink ribbons in a show of support and solidarity. Below right, Sisters By Choice Communications Coordinator Dorothy McMichael is moved by the speakers at the Oct. 27 event. Below left (from left) are Jan Lennon, Dr. Rogsbert Phillips-Reed, Chermaine Axam and Demetria Wideman. For more images, click here. Photos by the Decisive Moment Photojournalism