Breast and Cervical Cancer Fund
The Breast and Cervical Cancer Fund was established by Central Michigan District Health Department for the purpose of increasing local awareness of breast and cervical cancer issues and providing assistance to women who are at increased risk for breast and cervical cancer.
Michigan participates in a federal program that provides funding for health departments to make available free breast and cervical exams to women, age 40 through 60. The money from the program covers a limited number of basic exams. Women who receive abnormal results and need additional diagnostic testing often suffer the financial burden of the tests.
For years, the Health Department has tried to assist women with the costs of necessary tests. One strategy for funding was applying for mini-grants through the Foundation each year. Eventually, Shelli Wolfe with the support of Health Officer Mary Kushion, decided to start a fund for the Health Department at the Foundation with the hope of permanent funding to assist with the program. Each year, a portion of funds from the annual golf outing is placed in the Fund. Smaller fundraisers, such as a quilt raffle, also benefit the Fund.
In addition to covering necessary medical costs for women, money from the Fund is used for education and awareness. Representatives from the Health Department give presentations about breast and cervical cancer to groups and classes around the area. They speak about the dangers of the cancers and provide suggestions for a healthy lifestyle.
“We want to target rarely or never screened women through this program,” said Wolfe. She explained that rarely or never screened women are those who have not been tested for breast or cervical cancer in 14 to 16 years. Many women are busy taking care of everyone except themselves. Some women have never thought to be tested, or just do not want a test done. “For the most part, breast and cervical cancer is treatable if it gets caught early enough,” said Wolfe.