Health and Family Services Cabinet
P.J. Cooksey featured in breast cancer ads
FRANKFORT, Ky, (Feb. 6, 2007) – Patricia “P.J.” Cooksey, the second-winningest female jockey in history and a breast cancer survivor, is featured in a radio and TV commercial airing this month to promote the state Breast Cancer Research and Education Trust Fund.
In the 30-second ads, Cooksey asks, “How much trouble is a woman’s life worth?”, explaining how easily Kentuckians can support breast cancer research and education by donating a portion of their tax refunds to the trust fund and making voluntary donations when they purchase breast cancer license plates.
Cooksey attributes her breast cancer survival to regular screenings that led to early diagnosis and successful treatment.
“Early detection saved my life,” she says in the ads.
Kentucky women are diagnosed with breast cancer at a lower rate than the national average, but more Kentucky women die from the disease than women in all but six other states. Women in rural areas of the state have a higher rate of death from breast cancer than women in urban areas. Based on data from 2000-2002, about one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.
“Our hope is that when women hear P.J. Cooksey’s story, they will be inspired to get screened for breast cancer,” said William Hacker, M.D., Health and Family Services acting undersecretary for health and public health commissioner. “The best tool we have to fight breast cancer is screening and early detection. Until we find a cure, women cannot afford to forgo these tests.”
The breast cancer trust fund commercials are scheduled to run throughout February on radio and TV stations affiliated with the Kentucky Broadcasters Association. The spots will air on dozens of Kentucky radio stations and in most Kentucky television markets, including Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Paducah and Hazard.
“Donate part of your income tax refund to the Kentucky Breast Cancer Research and Education Trust Fund or help raise awareness by choosing this new Kentucky breast cancer license plate,” the ad continues. “So little trouble that can mean so much.”
The 2005 General Assembly established the trust fund to support and advance breast cancer research, education, treatment, screening and awareness efforts in the state through competitive grant awards to eligible organizations.
Last year, Kentuckians contributed nearly $52,000 to the Breast Cancer Research and Education Trust Fund through income tax designations, and drivers who purchased breast cancer license plates made almost $700 in voluntary donations. More than 7,000 license plates have been sold and the specialty plates are still available at county vehicle registration offices.
Trust fund grants will help support programs to improve access to breast cancer screening, provide direct services and raise awareness of the importance of regular self-exams and mammograms to improve women’s chances of surviving breast cancer.
Trust fund grant applications will be available beginning Feb. 15 on the Get Healthy Kentucky program Web site at www.Gethealthy.ky.gov and from the Kentucky Cancer Program, University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and the University of Louisville Brown Cancer Center.
The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services administers and staffs the Breast Cancer Research and Education Trust Fund and the governor appoints members of the trust fund board of directors.