The East Missouri Action Agency has offered the Rural Missouri Outreach Program through funding from Komen St. Louis for four years. The program serves women in Jefferson, Madison, Perry, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve and Washington counties in Missouri.
Last year, the funding helped to provide nearly 300 mammograms to women who are uninsured or underinsured. Without this program, women in rural Missouri may not have access to the care that is vital for the early detection of breast cancer – care that can ultimately save lives.
Komen St. Louis funding is essential in making sure these women get the care they need and deserve. “We would never have been able to provide ultrasound and diagnostic services otherwise,” says Program Director Angel Prather. “This funding really helps out a lot.”
While the process of receiving a mammogram or other diagnostic services is not an altogether pleasant one, Angel and her team work to help women feel special in the midst of what can be an uncomfortable circumstance.
“When we give mammograms every month, we treat the patients like queens for the day,” Angel says. “We work with Missouri Baptist Medical Center to provide the mammograms through their mammogram van, and we give out door prizes and serve food and drinks to the women.”
Above all, Angel says that providing women with the care they need has always been the Rural Missouri Outreach Program’s main priority.
“I’ve been a director for about 25 years,” she says, “and helping women is just what we do.”
In 2013, Komen St. Louis granted $2.2 million to 13 local breast health programs in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area, including East Missouri Action Agency’s Rural Missouri Outreach Program. These grants help fund breast health and breast cancer screening, education and patient navigation services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.