Personality: Regina N. Hall

Spotlight on co-chair of Central Virginia Chapter of the Sisters Network Community Health Fair

8/26/2016, 7:29 a.m.
For 10 years, Regina N. Hall and the Central Virginia Chapter of the Sisters Network have been going into the ...

For 10 years, Regina N. Hall and the Central Virginia Chapter of the Sisters Network have been going into the community to educate women about breast health.

This year, the chapter is hoping the community will come to them.

Ms. Hall, president of the nonprofit health organization, is co-chair of the Sisters Network Gift for Life Block Walk Community Health Fair, where families can receive potentially life-saving health information.

More than 15 health vendors are expected at the fair, where women and men can get vital health screenings, including mammograms and vision, dental and blood pressure checks.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Bill Robinson Park, 721 N. 35th St. in the East End. The screenings are free, Ms. Hall says. Pre-registration is required for the digital mobile mammography screenings to be conducted by the Breast Imaging Division of the University of Virginia Health System’s Department of Radiology.

The mammograms will be billed to insurance for those who have health coverage, Ms. Hall says. For those without health insurance or a primary care physician, the Sisters Network can help with the cost.

“There’s a great need to ‘stop the silence about breast cancer,” Ms. Hall says, “particularly in underserved communities where medical support and knowledge often is very limited or non-existent.

“African-Americans have the highest mortality rate when compared to women of other races and ethnicities. Sisters Network of Central Virginia can make a difference in increasing life expectancy through education and linking those afflicted with breast cancer to available resources.”

Ms. Hall is a 13-year breast cancer survivor.

“Sharing my story not only enables those I come into contact with to see what survival looks like, it provides those newly diagnosed an opportunity for dialogue with someone who has experienced what they are currently facing,” she says.

Sisters Network is the first national African-American breast cancer survivorship organization. The Central Virginia Chapter provides resources and support in Richmond and surrounding areas through community outreach, health fairs and forums, and national initiatives, including Pink Ribbon Awareness and the Gift for Life Block Walk.

Through her work with Sisters Network, including the chapter’s first Community Health Fair, Ms. Hall wants to offer to others the support she received during her journey.

“I was blessed to be supported by family, friends and the medical community during my ordeal and am committed to ‘pay forward’ this level of support to others,” she says.

Meet this week’s breast health advocate and Personality, Regina N. Hall:

Occupation: Benefit programs supervisor, Richmond Department of Social Services.

Date and place of birth: Oct. 1 in Mecklenburg County, Va.

Current home: Chesterfield County.

Alma mater: B.S. cum laude in special education, Virginia Union University.

Family: Husband, Michael D. Hall; son, Michael D. Hall II, M.D.; daughters, Crystal Monée Hall and Tia Nicole Hall; daughter-in-law, Ashley T. Hall; and three grandsons.

Other volunteer work: I am actively involved in ministries at New Deliverance Evangelistic Church, including various choirs and praise teams, Marriage Ministry facilitator, Women’s Ministry and Sunday School. I am also an active and proud supporter of my son and grandsons who coach and play soccer in the Richmond Kickers organization.

When Sisters Network was founded: Sisters Network Inc. (SNI) was founded in 1994 in Houston by Karen E. Jackson. There are now more than 40 survivor-run affiliate chapters nationwide with more than 3,000 members.  

Reason for founding: The organization’s purpose is to save lives and provide a broader scope of knowledge that addresses the breast cancer survivorship crisis affecting African-American women around the country. SNI is nationally recognized within the medical community and is a critical resource for African-American women fighting breast cancer.

When Central Virginia Chapter was founded: SNCVA was founded in January 2005 by Zelma Watkins.

Mission of organization: Our local chapter promotes the importance of the three steps to early detection: Monthly breast self-exam, yearly clinical exam and yearly mammogram for women 40 years and older; younger, with a family history of breast cancer.

Brief profile of membership: SNCVA has three levels of membership: Survivors, associate members and volunteers. Membership requires participation in sponsored activities.

Number of members: 31 — 18 survivors, eight associate members and five volunteers.

How people can get involved with organization: Interested parties may contact SNCVA at (804) 447-4027 or visit our office at 105 E. Clay St. in Jackson Ward.

Community Health Fair activities include: We will utilize the services of 15-plus health-related vendors for screenings for the entire family. The UVA mammography mobile van will be available for on-site mammograms for those who have preregistered. We also will have local talent performing throughout the day, including Cora Harvey Armstrong, M’Renee, Joye B. Moore, NYCE, Fifth Baptist Adult Praise Dancers and much more.

Relationship of Sisters Network with American Cancer Society: SNCVA supports the mission of the ACS in eradicating all types of cancer. We work together to connect those in need with services available within each organization. We support each other’s outreach activities as well.

Chapter’s No. 1 challenge: To increase chapter membership.

How I plan to meet it: To devote increased attention at Pink Ribbon (monthly chapter worship at local churches) and other outreach activities to proactively recruit survivors to become members. The recruitment of new members will give us an opportunity to solicit the support of family and friends who may, in turn, be interested in becoming associate members or volunteers. A viable working membership can best be maintained when a vested interest is held by all.

How to deal with breast cancer diagnosis: First, pray for God’s grace and guidance. Be open and communicate your concerns to your family, doctors and others involved in your medical treatment. Don’t be afraid to make hard decisions. Trust that God’s grace and your support system will help you get through the storm.

Importance of family support: Family can be your greatest support system. Open communication is the key. Let them know what your needs, fears, and concerns are and allow them to help shoulder the burden of the journey. Their direct involvement with your medical team is critical for a successful outcome. Use them, as they are the best resource to take notes, keep up with appointments, interpret medical direction and to keep you on track for a full recovery. Know that they love you and have your best interests at heart.

Number of women with breast cancer in Virginia: Statistics provided by Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation indicate that 6,620 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, of which 1,080 are expected to die from the disease.

Foremost challenge facing African-American women: African-American women have the highest incidence of mortality from breast cancer. This can be attributed to late stage diagnosis, a lack of insurance or being under-insured, lack of knowledge of positive breast health practices and little to no access to resources.

Foremost challenge facing underserved areas: Women in underserved areas suffer from lack of access to life-saving resources. This includes basic breast health information, awareness of their breast cancer risk, performing self-breast exams, free/affordable screening options that include annual clinical exams and mammograms, and connection to the available medical services following a positive diagnosis of breast cancer.

What needs to be done: We must develop and maintain ongoing program/activities to provide the underserved communities with breast education and information about access to available resources. Engaging other community partners to work jointly with us is imperative for sustained success.

A mammogram is: A type of breast imaging that uses low-dose X-rays to detect breast cancer. Mammograms play a key role in early detection when it is most treatable and thus help decrease breast cancer deaths.

How long it takes: A mammogram usually takes no more than 10 to 15 minutes. You may be asked to wait an additional 5 minutes to make sure images are clear and none need to be re-taken.

Cost: For an uninsured patient, the full cost of a mammogram can range from $80 to $212.

If money is a barrier, a woman should: Contact SNCVA. We can connect women with information and resources that can remove the cost barrier.

Nobody knows I’m: An avid viewer of lost episodes and reruns of “Bonanza” and “Big Valley.” I have found that they dealt with many societal issues that were not openly discussed during the time when they were originally broadcast.

My outlook for the day: Every day is a gift. Accept the gift with humility and live life to its fullest.

How I unwind: Read, listen to smooth jazz and enjoy games on my iPad.

What people think when they first meet me: I am a kind and compassionate person.

The one thing that I can’t stand: Dishonesty in any form.

The person who influenced me the most: My mother. She is the epitome of strength and grace. At 84, she continues to inspire me.

If I’ve learned one thing, it is: Life is not over until God says it’s over!

The best thing my parents ever taught me: Make good decisions, being ever mindful that you must be prepared to handle the consequences.

The book that influenced me the most: “Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book,” by Susan Love and Karen Lindsey.

What I’m reading now: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot.

My next goal: To find a way to devote more time in service to SNCVA.