Komen Helpline – Above and Beyond
Maria had been feeling pain in her chest for some time, and some of her family members had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Although she was facing a difficult financial situation, she knew she needed a mammogram, so she called the Susan G. Komen® Breast Care Helpline for help.
It’s hard enough for some individuals to ask others for support, but even harder to call and ask for financial help. But Maria took charge of her health, and bravely called the helpline to inquire about any free services that might be available.
She, along with hundreds of others who call the helpline, was found to live in a community without a Komen Affiliate or locally-funded grantee.
“We get really upset when we get a caller from an area where there is no local Komen Affiliate office, state funding has been depleted and there are no local resources available to provide to the caller,” said a helpline specialist.
The helpline searched through resource after resource and found nothing in Maria’s area to help. But they refused to accept that nothing could be done. Instead, the helpline specialist called the Tennessee Department of Health to inquire once more about any possible assistance, pleading Maria’s case.
After being told again, that there just wasn’t any funding available, a Department of Health staff member said, “You know, I think I heard of a screening program that will be held this weekend and Maria might qualify for it! It’s in another county about 20 minutes away, but I think you should contact them.”
Maria called and learned that the program offering the free screening mammograms was sponsored by a Belk department store. Belk, one of Komen’s corporate partners in the fight against breast cancer, has formed partnerships alongside community and health organizations to extend breast cancer screening services and increase breast cancer awareness. Thanks to the helpline, dedicated and passionate community workers and Komen partners such as Belk, Maria received information about this screening program and was able to get a mammogram.
Last year, the helpline responded to more than 13,000 calls and emails from people who reached out for information and support.
If you or someone you know has a question about breast cancer or resources in your area, please contact the helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN. Calls are answered Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST (6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. PST).
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.