It’s been more than three years since Glenda Baptiste battled breast cancer, and while she is not paying a bill, she has accepted a charge to spread the word of early detection and help save lives by raising awareness.

Baptiste shared her journey and her message Saturday, Oct. 17, during the inaugural Ride in Pink: Breast Cancer Awareness Ride sponsored by the Zachary Community Riders.

Baptiste credited early diagnosis with her survival in her brief speech. “My point here today was to get those mammograms done and take advantage of early detection,” she said. “I was a survivor, and my cancer was detected at an early stage. And that kind of makes a difference in how your treatments will go and in your survival rate.”

Research and trends echo this valuable point. The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that 64% of breast cancer cases that are localized, meaning that it hasn’t spread outside of the breast, have a five-year survival rate is 99%. People like Baptiste have the greatest advantage before the cancer has a chance to spread.

Breast cancer is among the most prevalent. This year, an estimated 42,170 women will die from breast cancer in the U.S. One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

Baptiste feels she can best battle those numbers by encouraging timely mammograms. “Just remember to do it,” she said. “Don't worry about the costs. There are ways out there that it can be handled where you can get it. Take care of yourself.”

Nurse Serrita Givens founded the Zachary Community riders while on a mission to improve her own health. Expanding to other health conditions has been a natural progression. “Our speaker Miss Glenda Baptiste is a three-year cancer survivor, and I'm just so thankful for her,” Givens said.

The riding club, many dressed in pink, made a morning ride through Zachary before ending at the Train Depot for a short awareness program with music and food vendors. “Breast Cancer awareness means the world to me because it has stuck a few people that are important in my life,” Given said. “So, I took the opportunity to come out and show awareness and just give back in within the community, to the survivors — the fighters and the people who lost their family members — just to show them that in unity, we're here in numbers.”