PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia joined efforts to end hepatitis B disease and liver cancer with awareness and education activities at Sakura Sunday Celebrations in beautiful West Fairmount Park on Sunday April 14, 2013.
“The Hepatitis B virus has a long history with the Asian American population and is the single-greatest reason why Asians suffer from one of the highest rates of death due to liver cancer,” said Jason Liu an organizer with Hep B Free Philly.
Hep B is the greatest cause of liver cancer in the world and the greatest health disparity for Asians and Pacific Islanders. Up to one in twelve Asians is infected with Hep B and at-risk for developing liver cancer. However, a vaccine protects against infection and medications can prevent liver cancer even in those already infected.
As part of awareness efforts, Liu delivered a Hep B prevention message at opening ceremonies for Sakura Sunday. The Jade Ribbon pin was also worn as a symbol of solidarity by leaders of the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival and dignitaries, including Pennsylvania State Senator Mike Brubaker, Subaru Regional Director Matt Ritter and Honorary Japanese Consul General Dennis Morikawa.
Hep B Free Philly organized the outreach and education booth with volunteers from the Drexel University pre-PA Program, the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association and the AsianWeek Foundation.
Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia is a project of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, with tremendous support from Subaru of America, Inc as title sponsor. The project aims to foster a better understanding of the cultural, social, and educational customs of Japan. Sakura Sunday is the centerpiece event held in Fairmount Park with food, live music and performances, crafts and activities and more. www.subarucherryblossom.org
Hep B Free promotes collaboration between government, healthcare groups, community organizations and businesses to end viral hepatitis B disease. The campaign was launched in San Francisco and serves as a model nationally for (1) creating public and healthcare provider awareness; (2) promoting routine hepatitis B screenings and vaccinations; and (3) facilitating access to treatment. www.hepbfree.org