Your Dollars, Making an Impact: Breast Education & Awareness Project

Ever wonder how your donation dollars help? Where does the money go and who does it directly help? Komen Columbus has a proud tradition of partnering with many organizations to help men and women who are underserved and uninsured in our 30-county service area. This year alone, we granted nearly $2 million to support 34 programs in Central and Southeastern Ohio communities. This milestone moment would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors, Race participants and all those people who give to Komen Columbus. For the next 20 weeks, we will feature our grantees so you can see and read how your dollars are making an impact.

What would you do if you had to make a choice between putting food on the table for your children and having surgery to remove a cancerous lump in your breast? While most of us cannot imagine having to make that decision – this choice is all too common for some women in our community.

Thanks to your generous donations, the Vinton County Health Department Breast Education and Awareness Program (BEAP) was able to assist a single mother who was faced with making a similar difficult decision. She was financially struggling, working 40+ hours a week and having to drive more than 85 miles for treatment.

Crystal Downard, a Breast Health Educator/Patient Navigator at BEAP, explains that the young mother was informed that she had a breast lump that needed to be removed after having a diagnostic test.

“Through the program’s assistance and support the client was scheduled for a lumpectomy.  During the procedure it was discovered she had another lump, which was removed as well. The client’s final procedure was a bilateral mastectomy.  The initial impression was LCIS (lobular carcinoma in situ). The final pathology revealed DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). She has had one reconstructive surgery and currently is awaiting a future appointment to discuss her next steps,” said Downard.

BEAP assists with bringing mobile mammography services into the Vinton County area as well as provides assistance with financial and transportation barriers. With only one physician office and no hospital or specialty service in Hocking and Vinton Counties, BEAP is an essential program to the Appalachian women living in these areas due to the distance that is needed to travel for health care.

The health department is a grant and tax dollar agency in a low socio-economic area. Therefore, without Komen Columbus funding the Vinton County Health Department could not provide breast health related services and awareness activities to the needed extent.

Downard stresses, “without generous donations, BEAP would not be able to assist and provide services to the women of Vinton and Hocking Counties.”

Supporters and staff at the Vinton County Health Department, BEAP  participate in the annual Fourth of July Parade.

How would the young mother’s situation played out if BEAP’s services were not available?  Your donations are key in helping support treatment, screening and education for breast health for men and women in these areas.

The staff and supporters of BEAP are passionate about their work and they see everyday why their efforts are so important. Throughout the year, through various events the staff continues to advocate for breast cancer awareness. So far this year the Vinton County Health Department has set up information booths at various events, including the 2012 Race for the Cure in Columbus, walking in the local Fourth of July parade, creating t-shirt orders, hosting a Scentsy party and organizing a raffle all to raise awareness and fundraise for breast cancer.

For more information on the Vinton County Health Department Breast Education and Awareness Program click here.

For a complete list of all our Komen Columbus grantees and the services and programs they provide, click here.