Reach Out for Life Gives Free Mammograms & Peace of Mind

October 16, 2017 4:52 pm Published by

Three years ago, Gloria was on her way lunch when she noticed the sign for Pathways, a community development organization in Petersburg. Filled with curiosity, Gloria wandered inside where she was greeted by Ron Thompson, Pathways Clinic Coordinator. Ron explained that Pathways is devoted to helping members of the community find employment and health care. When Gloria explained she didn’t have any health insurance, Ron set her up with free appointments through their Clinic.

“Right to this day, I thank Ron for all that he has ever done for me. He did a lot, and you don’t get the help that I got from him from certain people. Certain people wouldn’t even care about the stuff that you’re going through… if it wasn’t for them I don’t know where I’d be today,” said Gloria.

Pathways stresses the importance of preventative screening and makes sure that women like Gloria receive an annual mammogram through a nonprofit partner called Reach Out for Life. Reach Out for Life (ROFL) pays for women in need to receive mammograms and follow-up services. ROFL provides vouchers to participating clinics like Pathways who can then refer their patients for breast imaging services for free.

Gloria found Reach Out for Life through Pathways who referred her for a mammogram thanks to Reach Out for Life’s  Free Mammography Outreach Program.

Over the course of her treatment, Pathways made sure Gloria got a mammogram through Reach Out for Life’s Free Mammography Outreach Program. The mammogram exposed an issue in Gloria’s breast, but thanks to continued support from Reach Out for Life, Gloria was able to follow up and find out it was a false alarm. Gloria is one of hundreds of women who are able to get a mammogram and ongoing breast care through thanks to Reach Out for Life.

“Gloria is just an average patient who comes in with no insurance…. We make sure that the women over 40 who come in [to our clinic] are recommended for a mammogram. So we do all our referring through Reach Out for Life, and they will send me, say, 25 vouchers. We find facilities that are in close proximity to where that women live. We make sure they get the mammogram and any follow up that goes along with it.” said Ron. 

Mary Lee Collier (left) at Appomattox Imaging Center sees many Reach Out for Life patients. ROFL gives vouchers to partners like Pathways who send patients to the Center for free.

One of the local facilities that accepts the Reach Out for Life vouchers is Appomattox Imaging Center. Mary Lee Collier R.T.(R)(M)(BD)(CT) administers mammograms for many ROFL patients, often for the first time.

Reach Out for Life is able to provide free breast imaging procedures for women in the Tri-Cities area through a grant from John Randolph Foundation. The goal is early detection because breast cancers that are found early are the easiest to treat and have the best long-term results.

Says ROFL Executive Director, Norah Lind, “John Randolph Foundation has supported the work of Reach Out for Life since the decision was made three years ago to target the women in need in the Tri-Cities area. They understand the tremendous benefit of preventative procedures for local women.”

The partnerships and collaboration between Pathways, Appomattox Imaging Center, Reach Out for Life, and John Randolph Foundation are crucial to making early detection of breast cancer a reality for all women.

Gloria and Ron sit in the garden outside Pathways. Ron is the clinic coordinator who has helped Gloria and many other women get the care they need.

With tears in his eyes, Ron describes another woman helped by Reach Out for Life. “We had one patient who started the program with a history of breast cancer in the family. She kept trying to get her sister to come up and get into the program. She wouldn’t come, she wouldn’t come. Well she finally came, and there was an issue. She went for an ultrasound and was diagnosed with cancer. She had both breasts removed. She’s doing chemo on a daily basis, but she’s surviving. It’s amazing. She wouldn’t have made it [if she had to wait].”

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This post was written by AJ James

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