Making mammograms mobile in Middle Tennessee | Opinion

·3 min read

One of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. While mammograms don’t prevent breast cancer, they can save lives by finding breast cancer about five years earlier, on average, than you can feel it.

My best friend, college roommate and former business partner Susan Loyd was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. While her diagnosis was unexpected because she had no family history of breast cancer, her annual mammogram saved her life.

Inspired by Susan, I became involved in providing opportunities for women to receive mammograms, regardless of their insurance status.

In 2005, the Power of Pink was founded and we began hosting events to help fundraise for breast cancer research and services in Rutherford County. The Power of Pink provides over $75,000 annually for mammograms and breast biopsies for local uninsured, underinsured and indigent women in Rutherford County.

We've partnered with the Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation for our annual wine around the square event, and I saw that this new partnership opened doors that reached more women in our community. After hearing about a mobile mammogram unit in Chattanooga, we knew we had to have one in our community.

Making mammograms available to every woman

In 2011, we worked in conjunction with the Ascension Saint Thomas Health Foundation and secured a coach van equipped with 2D mammogram technology. The coach was just about everywhere we could park it, from community centers to local businesses.

Mobile Mammography Coach Exterior from Ascension Saint Thomas
Mobile Mammography Coach Exterior from Ascension Saint Thomas

Ten years later, over 23,000 mammograms have been administered to women across Middle Tennessee. We’ve been able to detect 93 cases of breast cancer and assist women in receiving the care they need.

Thanks to our partnership with the Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation, Ascension Saint Thomas Health Foundation, the Christy-Houston Foundation, Inc., and countless donors, we have been able to update the technology in the our mission in motion coach.

Mobile Mammography Coach interior from Ascension Saint Thomas
Mobile Mammography Coach interior from Ascension Saint Thomas

In late October, we were able to begin administering mammograms with 3D technology fitted in our new our mission in motion coach. It’s very important to make sure you receive a mammogram every year beginning at the age of 40.

There is no reason that every woman in Rutherford and surrounding counties should not be able to do just that. Not only have our mission in motion and the Power of Pink eliminated many barriers, but we walk side by side with women every step of the way.

It has been one of the great joys of my life as a volunteer to play a role in the detection and prevention of breast cancer in our community with the wonderful team at Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford.

Patty Marschel
Patty Marschel

I know the importance of support during these trying times in our lives. Just as I was privileged to support my friend Susan in 2004, I know there are countless community members and volunteers ready to support the women of Rutherford and surrounding counties.

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Patty Marschel is a Realtor and community activist. She currently serves on the boards of Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation. She is also a founder of the Power of Pink, and served as co-chair for Wine Around the Square since its inception. She and her husband have resided in Murfreesboro since 1970.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Health care: Making mammograms mobile in Middle Tennessee

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