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Raising Awareness: Annual special section publishes Friday

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Reading Friday’s paper could save your life.

Those are strong words, I know. But I sincerely believe them to be true.

The Friday newspaper is our annual “pink” edition, which will be printed on pink newsprint for the third time and will include a 24-page, two-part Pink Purpose special section.

The two-part Pink Purpose edition will include 11 inspirational profiles of local women who refused to let breast cancer take control of their lives. Rather, they fought for survival and won, living to celebrate and tell their personal stories of triumph over tragedy for the benefit of others — family, friends and perhaps even people they don’t know, which include thousands of fellow Republic readers.

Reading their stories — how they discovered they had cancer and ways they fought to survive — should inspire Columbus area women and men to be alert for breast cancer’s warning signs and to take preventive steps such as mammograms to give those who are stricken a better chance to live.

Besides the personal stories, the section will include informational graphics on subjects including:

  • Risk factors such as gender, genetics, family history, personal history, race and ethnicity.
  • Primary options for treatment.
  • Ways to conduct a breast self-examination.
  • Diagnosis rates.
  • A roundup of breast cancer services at four hospitals in the region.

Additional stories on breast cancer will be woven within the regular news and sports pages of Friday’s paper.

Planning of this special section began in July under the direction of Kirk Johannesen, special projects editor for The Republic. It’s a big job, and an important job. We committed to doing it exactly the right way.

We reached out to local citizens who had interesting and emotional stories to tell. And then our reporters and photographers went and recorded those stories in words and images over the next two months.

Women bared their souls to tell us of initial shock and denial at diagnosis, especially among those who were very young. For one, it was the day after her 33rd birthday when she got the news. Yet another was stunned with her diagnosis at age 35.

Others shared the emotional decision of how they decided to undergo a single or double mastectomy, and how they felt those decisions saved their lives.

Our profile individuals cover just about every decade — people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s — with the oldest person represented in this edition a proud and happy 86 years young.

In our special edition, you will read that it was family, friends and faith that made the difference.

If Friday’s paper doesn’t save your life, the stories inside will surely tug at your heart.


 Scott Hardin last week was promoted to the position of digital media director for The Republic and its Home News Enterprises sister publications in south-central Indiana. “Scott has played a key role with virtually all of our digital media initiatives over the last few years,” Publisher Chuck Wells said in making the announcement.

Hardin, 39, a Columbus native and graduate of Columbus North, had worked as a digital developer for our media company, creating a myriad of websites and social media solutions for our customers. He also built our company media sites from scratch — very successfully. “Our websites are the local leaders in each marketplace for page views and unique visitors,” Wells added.

Hardin will be continuing to roll out new digital tools for Republic readers during upcoming months, including a tablet edition.

Hardin began his professional career with Rockwell Automation, now known as Master Electric, starting as an intern and ending up at information technology manager over a 13-year span. Afterward, he worked as an information technology manager for Home Federal Bank, which became Indiana Bank and Trust, and just recently Old National. From the bank, he joined Home News in January of 2009, and we’re pleased to have him.

Tom Jekel is editor of The Republic. His column appears each Sunday. You may reach him by phone at 379-5665 or by email at

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