Komen St. Louis Community Partner: SSM Breast Care’s Empowering and Engaging Women Program

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“Women, regardless of their economic status, should have the same access to screening. The mission of Komen aligns well with SSM in that regard,” says Sandy Cobb, program director at SSM Breast Care.

The team at SSM Breast Care works to save the lives of women with breast cancer through the Empowering and Engaging Women program. Hundreds of women have been served in the past year through the program’s Komen St. Louis-funded screening and diagnostic services.

“Our main objective is to reach as many women as we can so that they have the information and feel empowered to get screened and to know their risk,” says Sandy.

SSM Health Care’s St. Clare Health Center, St. Mary’s Health Center, St. Joseph Health Center, St. Joseph Medical Park and St. Joseph Hospital West service this program to women who would not otherwise be able to afford it. Komen St. Louis funding enables these facilities to assist uninsured and underinsured women in the community. This is the 11th year of Komen St. Louis funding for this program.

“So many people who don’t have health insurance, Komen enables me to bring them in,” says Mary Fitzgerald, nurse practitioner at SSM. “They are ‘the forgotten people,’ ‘the hidden population,’ and they have been so grateful.”

The nurse practitioners at SSM have the privilege of witnessing the impact of the Empowering and Engaging Women program every day.

“I see all of the women that come through, and many of the women we’re seeing have nowhere else to turn,” says Karen Schapp, nurse practitioner at SSM. “I’ve been a nurse for a long time now, and working with Komen has been one of the best things I’ve been involved with.”

In 2012, Komen St. Louis granted nearly $3.1 million to 25 local breast health programs in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area, including the Empowering and Engaging Women program at SSM. These grants help fund breast health and breast cancer screening, treatment, education and support services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.

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Give Thanks and Give Back

Guest Writer: Dede Hoffmann, Komen St. Louis Board President

As an 11-year, 2-time breast cancer survivor, I am more than familiar with my treatment facility, the nurses and the procedures. There’s a bit of comfort and a tiny sense of control in knowing those pieces in my breast cancer battle. I recently witnessed the fear and confusion in the eyes of a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient as she stepped up to the check-in desk. On the brink of tears, she offered her name to the breast cancer navigator. The navigator gently cradled the woman’s elbow and assured her that she would have a companion to help her find her way along the complicated, endless maze of floors, rooms and appointments.

As Komen St. Louis Board President, I was proud to recognize Komen dollars at work. This breast cancer patient navigator program is but one of the instances where Komen dollars make a difference in the lives of breast cancer patients every day. Right now, Komen St. Louis funding supports 25 local organizations that deliver life-saving breast health services – including free mammograms; navigation through the health care system; and emergency financial assistance, meals and medical supplies – to those who may not otherwise have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.

Because so many need our help, I’m asking you to help Komen St. Louis by contributing to our 2012 Annual Giving Campaign. Your donation will make a difference to women, men and families in our community facing a breast cancer diagnosis.

As a Komen St. Louis volunteer, I know your donation will make an immediate impact. As a breast cancer survivor, I thank you for giving back this holiday season. With your support, together we are saving lives in our community!

Komen St. Louis Community Partner: Mercy Health Foundation of St. Louis’ Breast Cancer Screening and Education Program

Women with health insurance often take for granted their ability to have an annual screening mammogram. Some even choose not to get one. But for those who are uninsured or underinsured, the choice is often made for them. Thanks to grant money from Komen St. Louis, Mercy Hospital St. Louis is able to provide mammograms and diagnostic services to women who couldn’t otherwise afford it.

Carol Murphy, licensed clinical social worker and manager of Cancer Support Services at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, understands the important role Komen plays for women’s breast health in our community: “Komen allows us to reach the underserved. It’s a lifeline for many women.”

The Breast Cancer Screening and Education Program is projected to provide approximately 1,100 breast exams and mammograms to uninsured or underinsured low-income women during this grant year. The program collaborates with area health and social service agencies, Mercy Neighborhood Ministry and Mercy Hospital Washington. These agencies work to identify and reach out to low-income women in need of routine breast screening services. The goal is to increase access to breast screening services, education, prevention and early detection of breast cancer. Every screening includes a breast exam, mammogram and breast health education. The breast health navigator follows up with every woman who requires additional diagnostic services and maintains close contact with each woman to help her navigate the complex health care system.

This is the 10th year of Komen St. Louis funding for this program. The number of women Mercy Hospital St. Louis serves through the Komen St. Louis grant increases each year. The digital mobile mammography van travels to reach the underserved, and those without insurance can contact the Mercy Cancer Answer line to arrange a free mammogram in one of several locations. Last year, through Komen St. Louis funding, Mercy provided 1,000 mammograms to uninsured women, with 18 of those screening positive for breast cancer.

“If we didn’t have the grant, many of these women would not otherwise be receiving mammograms,” says Murphy.

In 2012, Komen St. Louis granted nearly $3.1 million to 25 local breast health programs in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area, including the Breast Cancer Screening and Education Program at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. These grants help fund breast health and breast cancer screening, treatment, education and support services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.

 

 

We’re On a Mission

At Komen St. Louis, we’re working every day to fulfill a promise.

Thirty years ago, Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Suzy, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. Three decades later, Komen has changed how the world talks about breast cancer and is the only breast cancer organization attacking the disease on all fronts: in research, community outreach, education, advocacy and global work. Today, Susan G. Komen is the boldest community fueling the best science and making the biggest impact in the fight against breast cancer.

Here in St. Louis, Komen’s promise is our mission. We’re focused on meeting the breast health needs of the women, men and families in our community – especially those most in need and most at risk. We do this by funding local breast health and breast cancer programs serving those who may not otherwise have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers. We fund groundbreaking global research, including some amazing breast cancer research happening right now at St. Louis research facilities.

We are fortunate and proud that more than 100 percent of the funds raised by Komen St. Louis since 1999 has come back to St. Louis. Every dollar is making a difference in our community.

During this season of Thanksgiving, we are grateful to all who support our mission, to all who are helping to keep an important promise – a promise made between two sisters that now gives hope to so many.