Nebraska Medicine held its annual Big Breakfast on Friday morning, a cause that's especially personal to one nurse handing out a little bit of health knowledge and a friendly reminder — along with a free morning meal.
The annual event, which ran from 6:30 to 9 a.m. Friday, aims to better inform women about what to do when it comes to breast cancer screenings, detection, and treatment.
"I think it's wonderful, it brings awareness to a lot of people,” attendee Janis Dagerman said.
For the past five years, health-care professionals have lined up in the early morning hours to hand out free meals and friendly reminders to get a breast cancer screening this year.
"It's really cool, there's a lot of information, they give you some cool free stuff — and free breakfast," said Jennifer Pommells, who attended Friday's event.
It hits close to home for Nebraska Medicine nurse Nicole Kiel: She's a breast cancer survivor.
Kiel learned she had the disease right before the holidays back in 2014.
"It was extremely scary especially because my son had just turned 2 a month before,” she said. “So, you know, it was tough and to have our first Christmas like that."
Kiel had a double mastectomy a few weeks after being diagnosed, then went through chemo for six months, followed by five months of radiation.
Early detection is crucial to fighting the disease, she said.
"Listen to yourself,” Kiel said. “If you think something’s wrong, go in get it looked at. If they don't wanna screen or talk to you, go get another opinion. That's extremely important, too, because women know their own bodies."
And although Kiel said being a survivor is like being a part of an exclusive club no one wants to a member of, it helps her better connect with patients.
She recommends everyone get tested. According to the American Cancer Society, 90 percent of people who are diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history, so it's important to get screened as early as possible.
"It's worth it,” Kiel said. “It could save your life.”