By Mary Solomon, Project Renewal, Scan Van Director
Super storm; Hurricane Sandy roared into the New York Metropolitan area on October 29th, causing record high tides, high winds, and relentless rain. Unprecedented flooding, power outages, and the general destruction of homes, businesses, and infrastructure followed. Sadly, Sandy hit many of the communities Project Renewal's Scan Van visits, and the program was forced to cancel several screening dates and ceased to provide mobile mammography services on Staten Island, lower Manhattan, and the shore line communities of Brooklyn and Queens.
Following the hurricane, some of our MedVan medical providers volunteered to help with providing primary care to folks hard hit by the storm during the first few weeks of recovery; however the Scan Van still was unable to re-enter the communities we service right away to provide mammography screenings. Finally, in December, we worked closely with community leaders, and got back into Lower Manhattan and parts of the shoreline of Brooklyn and Queens. In early January we made our first trip back to Staten Island to meet the needs of the communities we've long served there. Unfortunately, there are still some areas that we have not been able to have the Scan Van back to to offer mammography screenings. In an effort to continue to support those communities, our team has been reaching out to women living in these areas via phone, and mailings to provide them with information on when and where we will be located closest to them.
While it has been challenging to get up and running again in some areas, we've found that under circumstances such as this we need to give our community leaders a chance to prioritize their community needs and trust they will reconnect with us when they feel they are ready. We've also be able to see the importance of having strong relationships within the community during times like this!