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Grantee Spotlight: La Clinica de Familia, ACCESS Community Health, and Esperanza Health Centers Share Their Stories

  • The rollout of the ACA has begun and we’re hopeful that most of the 31 million uninsured Americans will become insured. But there is one segment of our population that will not gain insurance coverage under ACA, undocumented immigrants.

    About a month ago, one of our wonderful providers approached me with a patient situation that at first was believed to be a breast infection. However, her mammogram revealed breast cancer and the provider brought her back for a biopsy. Unfortunately, at around this time, the provider had to take a personal leave of absence and the patient, thinking she was left all alone, waited for me one morning, starting at 6:00 am, to make sure she didn’t miss me. She anxiously told me her whole story – she had been sexually abused by her step-father, was married at 16 and in an abusive relationship for 30 years, and now breast cancer. Her undocumented daughters and son in Roswell were not able to come and see her. She was devastated. The only relative close by was her youngest sister who was also a breast cancer survivor. I calmed her down and explained that she could qualify for BCC Medicaid and could transfer her care to Roswell to be with her children. The following day, I called her and told her she had been approved for the Medicaid. I also told her that I had a prosthesis and bra for her sister who had been using socks as a prosthesis for three years. She is now with her children, undergoing chemo and happy. She still thinks she needs to come to my house and help me with my chores, to thank me. Her exact words were " I will be your slave for the rest of my life". She owes me nothing. I do my job with my heart.
  • Recently, a presentation was held at a church in Dearborn for an ESL class. Issues discussed included individual barriers to mammogram screening, culturally sensitive issues around modesty, and financial barriers to care. The audience was only women of mixed ages. Brochures and an educational session were also provided. A woman in the audience was sitting and listening, and clasping her hands tightly together. Finally she approached me, admitting that she had a big lump in her breast, but she had never told anyone. She had arrived in the USA three years earlier, with a temporary visa, to accompany her husband who came as a student. She and her husband were undocumented and struggling financially.

    Through our Avon Outreach Program, our physician at ACCESS referred her for a mammogram, and the results indicated that follow up was needed. Our BCCCP clinic referred her to the surgeon at Karmanos Cancer Institute, using funds from Race for the Cure, and she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer.

    On behalf of our entire community, we greatly appreciate Avon’s continued generosity in helping us serve all of our community members.
  • A returning patient, who we’ll refer to as “Lydia”, illustrates the important role our Avon-funded patient navigation services play in ensuring good health and quality of life, even for women with non-cancerous breast abnormalities.

    After a recent biopsy detected no cancer in her right breast, Lydia began to feel pain in the same breast: “I had a very strong pain. I couldn’t put on my bra or bend down. Ofelia (one of our program’s Care Coordinators) was very active in ensuring that I would receive a free screening.”

    Ofelia selected the most appropriate funding source for Lydia – IBCCP, in this case – she then worked to get Lydia’s procedures approved. In July Lydia received free screening and diagnostic mammograms. The results came back abnormal. Ofelia called Lydia to notify her and schedule a surgical consult at Mount Sinai Hospital.

    “The surgeon told me they detected a wheel-shaped mass in my right breast. He said this could be cancer and advised that I undergo a small surgery.”

    Luckily, Lydia had calcium breast deposits, not cancer. Even without cancer, she still would have endured significant pain and stress were it not for Esperanza’s Avon-funded patient navigation services.

    When asked about what our services mean to her, Lydia responded: “I don’t have insurance because I’m undocumented. I know these services are expensive. Thank God for the help that I obtained from Esperanza and your assistance programs. Otherwise, you just neglect yourself.”

A Grantee's Perspective

Chenango Health Network has received grant funding from the NYS Avon Breast Health Outreach Program for many years. AVON BHOP support has enabled our agency to conduct our Every Woman Counts in Chenango County Campaign, which motivates, encourages and supports hundreds of women who live in this rural upstate county to be screened for breast cancer and receive necessary treatment and support. Read More

Avon Foundation's Access to Care

The Avon Foundation for Women's mission is to provide access to breast healthcare for those in need today and to fund research to find the causes and learn how to prevent breast cancer. Read More