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Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation’s Call to Help Serve Mississippi Women


The Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation (FLHCF) closed out Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a groundbreaking ceremony at its future site in Ruleville, Mississippi, on October 31.

The non-profit foundation is named for civil rights activist and Ruleville local, Fannie Lou Hamer, who succumbed to breast cancer and heart disease in 1977. In a state where black women with breast cancer are 60 percent more likely than white women to die of the disease, FLHCF helps increase cancer awareness and access to screenings and care in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. 

Nationwide, black women are more vulnerable to a number of poor health indicators when compared to their white counterparts. For instance, data from the health care advocacy group Families USA shows that Black women are 52 percent more likely to die from cervical cancer, and have maternal mortality rates that are times higher than that of white women. 

While class and health outcomes are linked, the relationship does not necessarily result in favorable outcomes for Black women who have climbed the social ladder. According to a 2018 report from Duke University, despite earning higher educational and income levels, Black women give birth to babies who are three times more likely to die than babies born to white women with lower socioeconomic standing.

These health trends hold in the state of Mississippi, which also has the most number of Alzheimer’s and heart disease-related deaths of any state, and ranks second in the nation for cancer-related deaths.

FLHCF reports it has provided free mammograms and Pap tests to 5,000 women, work that is especially important given that this region has long been entrenched in poverty and poor health outcomes. 

FLHCF is now seeking funds to build a new state of the art facility in which to continue its services. 

“The construction to the headquarters will allow us to reach and assist more clients as well as provide space to effectively support and expand our programs,” said FLHCF Founder and President Freddie White-Johnson in a statement. “The Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation has had a profound impact in the state of Mississippi, and we’re one of the few organizations in the Mississippi Delta providing extensive literature and preventative cancer screenings to unserved and underserved populations.”

The groundbreaking ceremony marks the start of construction phase one, in what is to be a 10,000-square-foot facility, at an estimated cost of $2.5 million. 

“It’s been a long journey, but we’re proud of the support we’ve received from the community and across the nation thus far,” said White Johnson.

For more information about the Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation, visit: www.flhcf.com.