Komen Support Has Lasting Impact
Susan G. Komen’s Affiliates across the country work hard every year to raise funds needed to carry out our mission of saving lives and ending breast cancer forever. Seventy-five percent of the net funds raised through events like the local Race for the Cure and other contributions, remain in the local community, supporting local organizations and programs that provide important services, such as cancer education, screening and treatments for those who need it most.
Many of these grants leave a lasting impression. For example, in Columbiana County, Ohio, a Komen grant enabled the mammography cancer detection department at the Columbiana County Health Department to provide over 7,000 free or reduced cost mammograms for those without insurance. In recognition of this support, last month the grantee officially dedicated the room where the mammogram machine is as “the Suzy Room.”
While the room may not be as fancy as the mammogram suites at other health departments, it makes early detection services available to all county residents by removing barriers to access, such as financial constraints, age requirements and lack of a referral. In addition to mammograms, the department has been able to provide diagnostic services and one-on-one education to the under or uninsured.
The Columbiana County Health Department is just one example of the impact community grants are having in the 22 county service area supported by the Komen Northeast Ohio Affiliate. Through its BRinging Education, Advocacy and Support Together (BREAST) Program, the MetroHealth System (MHS) is also working to improve the breast health of uninsured, minority women in the Cleveland area. Since 2005, the BREAST Program has screened 4,760 women and educated 26,850 others. This program reduces the barriers to care by providing culturally-sensitive bilingual education, clinical breast examinations (CBEs) and mammograms, all at no cost to the patient, as well as access to services in churches and homeless shelters.
In addition, with Komen funding the BREAST staff is working to expand their Amigas Unidas Program. Amigas are Latina volunteers who become certified Breast Health Advocates. They teach their peers in bilingual one-on-one and small group sessions, educating 2,500 women on breast self-awareness and screening guidelines.
Komen funds have also enabled Summa Health System, an organized health care delivery system, to remove financial barriers and increase access to breast health services for women in Northeast Ohio. The Summa Screens program provides mammography, breast ultrasounds and breast health navigation services. Targeting their services toward the African-American population, the program has delivered 81 percent of services in zip codes identified by Komen as either the highest or second highest relative need for mammography in the area.
Summa was also able to hire a mammography facilitator that enabled them to provide improved care and increase the number of unique patients served through the Summa Screens program by over 100 percent from 2011 to 2012. Based on the program’s current service rate, 650 breast imaging services will be provided in 2013.
While there are many ways to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer, these three examples show how the Komen Northeast Ohio Affiliate – working in concert with local organizations – is fulfilling Komen’s promise and making a tremendous difference in their community.
About the author
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.