Your Dollars, Making an Impact: Hands of Hope

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 few weeks, we will feature our grantees so you can see and read how your dollars are making an impact.

Guest Writer: Michele Mooney

Women’s lives are being saved in the rural, Appalachian community of Portsmouth, Ohio because of Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) Hands of Hope breast cancer screening and outreach program.

Located in Scioto County and surrounded by other Appalachian counties such as Ross, Pike, Adams and Vinton which face poverty, educational and insurance crisis, Hands of Hope provides accessible breast cancer services to women in this region.

Hands of Hope services a community where 27% of the population is uninsured by providing mammograms, ultrasounds, MRI’s, clinical breast exams, surgical consultation and breast biopsies.  Beyond the clinical services available in the detection of breast cancer, Hands of Hope offers two genetic tests to women who are uninsured or underinsured as well as provides a means of transportation through gas cards to patients.

“I see first-hand how the funding from Komen supports women in our community who are uninsured or underinsured,” said Kim Richendollar, Breast Health Navigator.

Kim mentions a patient who had to leave her job to care for her child who was paralyzed in a car accident.  Before leaving her job (and her health insurance), she visited her family physician for a routine check-up.  Although the patient was over 40 years old, her doctor did not recommend a mammogram.  It was after that, when the patient received a free clinical breast exam through Hands of Hope which revealed the need for a biopsy and further testing resulting in a diagnosis of breast cancer.  She was referred to Southern Ohio Women’s Cancer Project  (also a Komen grantee) for financial assistance and is receiving treatment and enthusiastically participates in breast cancer awareness events.

Participants of the Paint it Pink Parade in October share messages of hope during the event.

“Without the support of the funding from Komen, this woman may have never gotten a clinical breast exam and mammogram,”said Richendollar.

SOMC further supports those with breast cancer through its Survivorship Program to help patients cope with emotional and mental challenges brought on with the diagnosis.

Richendollar adds, “Medical service shortages, rural location and socioeconomic and cultural factors pose barriers to breast screenings in the Appalachian community.  We could not be successful without the funding from Komen.”

For a complete list of all our Komen Columbus grantees and the services and programs they provide, click here. Read about other Komen Columbus Community Health Grantees here.