As Pink October Winds Down…
Last week, we held a small event at our Orange Blossom Family Health at Ivey Lane location, sponsored by and in partnership with CVS Health to celebrate our free screening mammography program. CVS Health provided a generous $30,000 grant this year to support our current screening mammography services and to expand those services for our uninsured female patients in Osceola and Seminole Counties. The representatives for CVS Health were executives from the Central Florida area who can see and feel the local impact of this support. What impressed me the most was how engaged and supportive they were. Sherif and Bharat – your kind words of appreciation for our efforts were especially appreciated.
I used the term celebrating because we are very proud of this program. When I started with the organization back in 2008, we were providing this service on a quarterly basis. This was barely making a dent in the patient waiting list. Through the support of foundations, corporations, service groups, events and individuals over the years, we are providing services monthly and able to add extra days due to the recent CVS Health grant.
Let me give you some history. Back in 2004, our CEO’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had the benefit of excellent health insurance, regular doctor visits and early detection. Her situation didn’t require invasive treatment and today she is a proud cancer survivor. Her diagnosis still hit her son hard and brought him to the stark reality that our patients did not have that same opportunity. His mother was his inspiration to start this program. Early detection is a crucial part of surviving cancer and our patients had limited access to screenings. Our CEO engaged a local mobile mammography provider, James Davidson with Women’s Mobile Medical Services; Femmes de Coeur, a local women’s group, provided the start-up funds for the program; and our first screening mammography service day took place in November of 2006.
Now 13 years later, this program has provided over 4,200 free screening mammograms for low-income, uninsured women who are patients at our Orange Blossom Family Health locations. That may not sound like a lot considering that the program started back in 2006 but remember that initially there were only four service days a year. Pink October is special, but this program is now working for our patients all year long.
The greatest benefit of this program is that it has touched the lives of so many low-income, uninsured women, both housed and homeless. And so many well past the age of forty when they received their first mammogram. The stories they have told of their personal fears would touch your heart. Some had a family history of breast cancer and felt they were walking time bombs. Others worried what would happen to their children if they became ill. And those that felt it was just one more insurmountable hurdle in their health care journey. This program has detected cancer and saved lives.
Femmes de Coeur dissolved at the end of 2018 after many years of service focused on helping to alleviate suffering in our community. The free screening program at Health Care Center for the Homeless exists because of them and is just one of the legacies they leave behind. We are eternally grateful to them for their commitment to our patients and helping to make this particular vision a reality.
You can never say thank you enough for those that give of their treasure to help those in need. Thank you to CVS Health for seeing the benefit to the community that would result from your generous support of this program. Thank you to St. Margaret Mary Church in Winter Park for the many years you have found this program worthy of your financial commitment. To corporations, foundations and service groups who invested in this program – thank you for your vision and dedication to our patients. Thank you to all those individual donors who answered the call and helped provide this service, whether it offered a patient the chance for earlier detection or the peace of mind that came from knowing breast cancer was not their fate. We hope all of you will continue this journey with us for years to come.
If you would like to know more about this program or provide screening mammograms for uninsured women, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can donate now at by copying and pasting this link in your browser: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/HCCH