Your Dollars, Making an Impact: Operation Pink Out & The Power of Pink

Your Dollars, Making an ImpactEver 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.

Operation “Pink Out” Strengthening the Safety Net – Holzer Medical Center

Guest Writer: Rebecca Hudson

For years, uninsured and underinsured women in rural southeast Ohio have faced a grim choice between providing for their families and taking care of their own health, especially preventive care.  Too many learn too late they have breast cancer and their lives join the statistics of a tragic reality – women in Appalachia die more frequently of this disease than any other part of Ohio.

That’s where the Komen Columbus-funded Operation Pink Out Strengthening the Safety Net program at Holzel Medical Center steps up to make a difference.  The program provides breast cancer screening and breast health information to uninsured and underinsured women in Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence and Vinton counties.

Medical experts cite early detection as an essential weapon in battling breast cancer and living a longer life, cancer-free.

“Without this program women in these counties would truly be hurt by not seeking assistance until their breast cancer is too obvious to ignore and, more often than not, at an advanced stage,” says Tammy Ellison, the program’s director.

These women have access to much-needed outreach services provided by Operation Pink Out with funds from Komen Columbus, including:

•    Annual free mammograms
•    Diagnostic exams
•    Seven health fairs to promote breast health
•    A toll-free hotline where medical professionals answer questions about breast care
•    Breast education and risk assessments
•    Lymphedema supplies
•    Vouchers for patients unable to pay for transportation

Statistics from Holzer Medical Center clearly demonstrate that Operation Pink Out is helping to diagnosis cancer in women at earlier stages. Tammy recalls one woman’s breast cancer diagnosis. “Komen provided a mammogram that led to the diagnosis of breast cancer. The cancer turned out to be a more aggressive form; if not for the mammogram the outcome may not have been as positive,” said Tammy.Holzer Operation Pink Out

As a 16-year breast cancer survivor, Tammy proudly acknowledges she feels a commitment to helping women with breast cancer.

“As a breast cancer navigator at Holzer Center for Cancer Care, I convince women to get their mammograms and Komen is here to help make it possible,” she said. “I stress, from personal experience, early detection saves lives. There is hope and life after breast cancer.”

For more information on Operation Pink Out program, call 740.446.5474 or 1.800.821.3860 or email info@holzer.org.

The Power of Pink – Memorial Hospital of Union County

Guest Writer: Becca Thomas

For those under and uninsured men and women in Union County, facing a potential breast cancer diagnosis can be a very scary situation, both for any potential lumps or abnormalities that could be discovered and for the costs involved. The Power of Pink Program, operated through the Memorial Hospital of Union County, aims to alleviate some of those worries by covering the cost of many of the crucial services needed to detect and treat breast cancer.

In other words, The Power of Pink Program focuses on the screening of high-risk and underserved populations within the Memorial Hospital service area by providing screening mammograms to women who are uninsured or underinsured, with a special emphasis on women ages 40 to 65. Diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds and breast biopsies are also offered through the program.

The Power of Pink Program doesn’t stop there, but also provides the community with information on breast health and the importance of early detection by distributing educational information at community events and health fairs, as well as providing those patients receiving chemotherapy at with educational materials and supportive items to help the patient navigate though their breast cancer treatment.

The Power of Pink_Memorial Hospital“From start to finish, women who have their mammograms at Memorial Hospital have a fully committed team of experts on their side,” Program coordinators said. “The program director works closely with the Memorial Hospital breast cancer patient navigator to identify patients that are in need of support, education and assistance. The hospital also now offers stereotactic and ultrasound guided breast biopsies allowing women fast recovery times and a quick return to their everyday activities.”

The comprehensive breast health program provides high-quality care close to home, as access to health care is an issue for many in Union County. Local data indicates an alarming lack of access to primary insurance coverage and the 2008 Ohio Family Health Survey found that 14.3% of Union County adults did not have health insurance, compared to 17% of adults in Ohio.

This assessment also showed that cancer is one of the top 5 causes of death in the county and indicated that from 2003 to 2005, 506 county residents were diagnosed with breast cancer, the second most prevalent type after lung cancer. The highest rate of breast cancer occurred in women between the ages of 55 and 64 years of age, which is part of the target age range for the grant.

To take their dedication and passion to ending breast cancer one-step further, coordinators of the Power of Pink program annually team up with the Memorial Hospital Employee Wellness Program for “Think Pink Week,” a week of activities focused on breast cancer awareness and education held in October.

To find out if you’re eligible to qualify for services in the Power of Pink Pink program, contact 937-578-2488.

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.

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