Grantee Spotlight – Caring Connections – YWCA of Bangor – Two Women, One friend and One flyer.
In August our office received a call from a 51 year old woman who worked as a bus driver. We determined she was eligible for the screening program as she had no insurance and her income was around $22,000 a year. We began gathering information for the CIF and she told us she found out about the program from a flyer hanging on the wall of the bathroom at work. When asked what made her decide to contact our program for breast health services she said encouragement from family and friends. She said she had not had a Pap test for 8 or 9 years and had never had a mammogram. We sent her the paperwork to enroll.
A few days later we got a call from another woman. When asked how she heard about the program she gave the name of the first woman who had called. This second woman stated she had not had a mammogram in 8 years and had not had a Pap for at least 5 years. She also had some symptoms she was concerned about. She asked if she and the first woman could have their appointments together so they could support each other.
In talking with the second woman she let me know they had a mutual friend who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Although they had both seen our flyers in various places they had ignored them, but encouragement from their newly diagnosed friend had made them realize they both needed to take care of themselves. I mailed out enrollment paperwork to the second woman along with a packet of resources for her newly diagnosed friend.
They sent their enrollment paperwork back together and I passed it on to the primary care provider's office we work with, not knowing if their desire to have their appointments together could be accommodated, especially as one of them had symptoms and would need to be seen quickly.
But we heard from the doctor's office that they were able to be scheduled on the same day for their clinical breast exam and Pap appointments. We followed up with each of them a few days later and they were both pleased with the service. The woman with symptoms had had a diagnostic mammogram and needed a six month follow up. She was relieved to hear this would be covered under our program. The asymptomatic woman was scheduled for later that week.
While it is unfortunate these two women had a friend diagnosed with breast cancer, it was her encouragement that got them both to seek health care. We will do all we can to continue to encourage them to become regular screeners.