W. Side fashion designer ramps up fight against cancer

Barbara Bates is reaching out to residents ahead of her annual Run/Walk

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By Wendell Hutson

Contributing Reporter

After beating breast cancer eight years ago Barbara Bates, a Chicago fashion designer, has since made helping black and Latino women fight breast cancer a personal goal.
Since 2014 the 62-year-old North Lawndale resident has sponsored the Walk Where You Live 5K Run/Walk to raise money for the Barbara Bates Foundation Women's Imaging Center at Mt. Sinai Hospital, 1500 S. Fairfield Ave. 
The annual event starts at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19 at Douglas Park, 1401 S. Sacramento Drive. Online registration is available for $50 at barbarbatesfoundation.org and participants must arrive by 7:30 a.m. 
In 2016, about 300 people participated in the run, according to Bates, who added she expects attendance to be higher this year.
"It rained last year so attendance was low but this year, if the weather cooperates, I am hoping for a much bigger crowd," said Bates, who lives across the street from Mt. Sinai. "Thanks to sponsors, I was able to donate $15,000 to Mt. Sinai in 2016, and since 2012 my foundation has donated nearly $600,000."
Monies raised through the foundation also include proceeds from the Knocking Out Breast Cancer event, an annual fashion show featuring a special collection of clothing created by Bates and modeled by breast cancer survivors. Although there won't be a fashion show this year Bates, a lifelong West Side resident who grew up in West Garfield Park, said she expects to have one in 2018.
Helping minority women fight breast cancer is something Bates said she needs to do.
"I want to become a resource for black women battling breast cancer," added Bates. "Research shows that while more white women develop breast cancer, black and Latino women are the ones dying from it."
The mother of two adult sons also plans to do a meet-and-greet with the community from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5 at MacArthur's restaurant, 5412 W. Madison St. 
"I want to get to know my fellow residents and I want them to get to know me. That's why I felt it was important to have a meet and greet before the run," she said. "This will be an opportunity for women to ask me questions about the center and how I beat cancer."
According to Dianne Hunter, a spokeswoman for Mt. Sinai Hospital, the Women's Imaging Center should be up and running by January 2018. Karen Teitelbaum, president and CEO of Sinai Health System, Dr. Richard Kim, chairman of the Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Radiology, and Debra Wesley, executive vice president for community outreach at Sinai, will all participate in the race.
Upon completion, the center will provide breast cancer programs and services to black women who otherwise would not have access to such services, explained Bates.
"Our goal remains to engage more community members in our efforts, and call attention to the disparities that exist in treating women of color who suffer from breast cancer."

Email: wreporter@yahoo.com

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