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Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer death, among women in the United States. Although breast cancer incidence is lower among African American women, they have a 38 percent higher breast cancer death rate than Caucasian women.
Recently, I saw first-hand how the money raised by each of you who participate in the Susan G. Komen Denver Race for the Cure®, helped a woman named Makeda not to become part of this statistic.
There are days at work that come and go when I scarcely give a second thought to the day. Then there are days at work that stay with me for a very long time. Two months ago, I had a day that will stick with me a long while
It was around 5:15 in the evening, and the office was mostly quiet when the phone rang. The daughter of one of our Women’s Mobile Clinic patients was calling and I could instantly hear the desperation and worry in her voice. Her mother, Makeda, who had immigrated to the United States from Ghana more than four years ago, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. They were trying to figure out how to pay for her treatment.
I contacted my co-worker, a patient navigator who assists patients in locating and accessing cancer services. I told her of Makeda’s situation and asked if she could help. That night, I didn’t sleep well thinking of Makeda and her family.
The next morning, I was greeted with good news. The treatment grant Denver Health received from Komen Denver Metropolitan Affiliate would cover her treatment.
I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and relief. The part of my mind that knows the statistics couldn’t help wondering, “What would have happened to Makeda if this grant funding didn’t exist?” The answer is, more than likely, Makeda would have had to wait a few months, or even a year, to save up sufficient money for a deposit before she could get her needed breast surgery. That waiting period, depending on how aggressive the tumor was, could mean that Makeda’s cancer would spread to other parts of her body. That wait could mean that Makeda’s chance of survival would decrease significantly.
Thankfully, the Denver Metropolitan Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure sees this health disparity as a problem that must be addressed.
Makeda received her life-saving treatment thanks to the efforts of all of you.
Without organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure to ensure that quality breast cancer care is available for all — more women would be a statistic. Thank you for supporting Susan G. Komen for the Cure whose mission is to save lives and end breast cancer forever.
Together we can make a difference.
Ashley Shurley, BSN, RN
Denver Health Women’s Mobile Clinic
(“Name and country of origin have been changed to protect the patient confidentiality.”)
Today is the last day to save money and save lives. Early registrations ends today 6/30, so if you haven’t yet registered for the Komen Denver Race for the Cure do it now by clicking here.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
1835 Franklin Street
Denver, CO 80218