Thursday, September 23, 2010
For years women in rural southwest Kansas had to drive all the way to Wichita if they wanted a digital mammogram. But thanks to a celebrity basketball game, Thursday marks the first time they were able to be inspected in their own hometown.
It is a dream come true for a small southwest Kansas town. A coach bus furnished with a state-of-the-art digital mammography station will save a lot of time and energy for women in the area.
"For the women to be able to do that here in Ashland instead of having to drive," breast cancer survivor Michelle Krier says, "I think that is going to be a big motivator."
When Michele Krier got breast cancer last year she had to make two 70-mile round-trips just to be diagnosed. "I've heard a lot of excuses from other women that they don't have the time to get a mammogram done," Krier says. "To be able to just come on over here with virtually no waiting and to get it done right now with no driving I think it is great."
The mobile digital mammography station made its first appearance in Ashland Thursday and it will now be a monthly occurrence because of the money raised from a celebrity basketball game last October.
Ashland Health Center CEO Benjamin Anderson says, "The first celebrity to confirm was Jackie Stiles. Then Shalee Lehning from Sublette, Kansas said she would come. It really went big when Fox Sports Network agreed to come on board and broadcast the game out of our high school gym, a town of 900 people."
The WEPAC Alliance, a non-profit organization, orchestrated the game and other weekend events that raised the funds for the machine. Organizers say it is great to see everything come full circle "It's enormous. It's the best thing. Of course our biggest goal was to get digital mammogram to come to the community," one member says.
When you compare this to the alternative it truly is an incredible thing for the community. CEO Anderson adds, "Digital mammography services used to be 2 1/2 hours away and now they are going to be right in your backyard."
The Second Annual " Hoops for Hope" Game will be held on October 29th. Tickets go on sale October 3rd. For more information from the WEPAC Alliance website click on "Related Links" below.