ORLANDO, Fla. – One woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes in the United States.
That alarming statistic from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has fueled nonprofit organization Shepherd’s Hope to partner with Sand Lake Imaging to provide free mammograms for uninsured women for a sixth year.
The program known as “Get a Mammogram, Give a Mammogram,” has helped more than 2,200 uninsured women in Central Florida get screenings.
President and CEO of Shepherd’s Hope Marni Stahlman said this year is about targeting women who are just beginning to get their mammograms.
“Start at age 40, if you're an average risk,” said Dr. Lynda Frye, with Sand Lake Imaging. “But if you have a strong family history of breast cancer, we want to start seeing you sooner."
Maria Lugo Antounez moved to Central Florida from Venezuela to live closer to her daughter. She met Stahlman and the team at the Shepherd’s Hope clinic in downtown Orlando for a routine check, and found out she had breast cancer.
“No tengo palabras,” or, “I don’t have words,” Antounez said as she described the care she received following that screening.
Caretakers from the clinics follow every patient through their diagnosis, and for uninsured patients, that means covering the cost of surgeries. Shepherd’s Hope also partners with several Orlando area hospitals to meet those financial needs.
Stahlman described how she felt about the partnership in one word: grateful.
"Grateful for the women who are coming and understand that they want to give one back to another woman in the community. That's where the gift is," Stahlman said.
Shepherd’s Hope has provided free health care services to more than 19,000 patients at its centers in Central Florida.