Selena Kemper (left) and Dawn Naill with Mercy Health Mobile Mammography inside the 3D mobile mammography vehicle. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

New grant will help Clark and Champaign foundation boost breast cancer screenings

The Mercy Health Foundation of Clark and Champaign Counties recently received a $39,000 grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation in Columbus to support breast cancer screenings and diagnostics.

This is the fourth year the foundation has received the grant to provide mammograms for those in the community who might not be able to afford the tests.

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Kristy Kohl-McCready, president of Mercy Health Foundation, mentioned the recent success of the mobile mammography unit.

“If we can get into parts of the community where we make the van accessible,” she said, “women can see it, they can stop in, they can get their mammogram — we’ll be able to get early detection in a farther reaching base.”

She said when the Komen Foundation approached Mercy Health four years ago, the community had a high mortality rate from breast cancer, which Mercy Health linked to women being screened late or not at all.

This was one of the primary reasons Mercy Health introduced the mobile unit.

Half of the money needed for the unit was raised through capital funds. The other half was funded through Mercy Health.

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The unit was put out in Clark and Champaign counties and in surrounding communities in 2017. It completed 905 screenings in its first year of service and identified 12 cases of cancer.

Kohl-McCready said many women put off having a mammogram because of the cost.

The No Excuses program within the region estimates that 630 women will complete a screening pathway, which can include education, referrals or diagnostic procedures. Seventy women are expected to need charitable funds to cover the expenses.

Kohl-McCready said the Komen Foundation’s donation has spurred donations from other organizations in the area.

The donation to the Mercy Health Foundation was part of a $750,000 investment into eight programs in the 30-county Komen Columbus service area.

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