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.
Increasing breast cancer incidence rates, high mortality rates and high percentages of late-stage diagnosis are all issues of concern in Delaware County. The overall mortality rate for the county is also cause for concern, as it ranks as having the sixth highest mortality rate out of the counties served by Komen Columbus.
For the past 10 years, Grady Memorial Hospital’s IMPEDE (Importance of Prevention and Early Detection) program addresses these alarming statistics by providing education in this north-central Ohio region on the importance of prevention and early detection, as well as supporting those who have been diagnosed.
According to Program Director Freda Clark, the goals of the program are:
- To decrease late-stage breast cancer diagnosis in Delaware County,
- To provide treatment support to women in the county diagnosed with breast cancer and
- To strengthen their path to survivorship.
In 2011, Grady Memorial performed 4,415 mammogram procedures.
To stretch donation dollars in the area, Freda says the hospital collaborates with other organizations and clinics in the county to make sure they are able to reach women who either do not have insurance, or their insurance does not cover specifics tests or treatments.
“Some people go without because they don’t have the means to get a mammogram or treatment. Grady offers comprehensive care from screening through survivorship regardless of their ability to pay,” said Freda.
Grady’s program is an extension of OhioHealth’s comprehensive breast cancer care program that was established in 2000. The program reflects a commitment to early detection, compassionate comprehensive care and optimal outcomes for breast cancer patients. The hospital recently increased its oncology presence, welcoming an additional physician to the program.
Patients qualify for IMPEDE when they are deemed ineligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Those with insurance may be eligible if their insurance declines to cover a particular service/product or if they show hardship for meeting unusually high deductibles.
Thanks to Komen Columbus’ funding, the IMPEDE program provides free screening mammograms and ultrasounds as part of the prevention and early detection program. For survivors, there is a yoga exercise program and monthly support groups. Survivors also can receive assistance with lymphedema sleeves, bras and prostheses. Wigs and medication assistance is also available for those patients in active treatment. A new program IMPEDE offers is massage therapy for survivors during treatment.
“I don’t think people in the community always realize the benefits to the survivors in the local area. Survivors may not have a wig to wear during chemotherapy due to lack of insurance funds and by providing them a wig,” said Freda, “you may make the chemo experience a little more tolerable. It is important sometimes to remember by donating (to Komen Columbus) you may be helping your neighbor – literally.”
Freda recalls one woman- a two-year survivor- who had a bilateral mastectomy. Her insurance did not cover any kind of prosthesis and she decided to go without one. During a support group, the woman mentioned her son was getting married, but she was having trouble finding a dress to fit since did not have a prosthesis.
“I offered her assistance through the grant and gave her a couple of places that provided prostheses. A few weeks later, I saw her in the lobby of the hospital with her prosthesis in place and she was so grateful and happy. It’s the little things and it made me so happy to not see worry and concern on her face,” said Freda.
“I’ve worked in oncology for 35 years and I have seen, firsthand, how this disease affects people differently. This program, thanks to Komen’s funding, allows us to help and make a lasting impact in the lives of so many,” Freda added.
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.