Buddy Check 3: New help for breast cancer patients under 40

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 3:56 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Local efforts are growing to help women under 40, diagnosed with breast cancer. The Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks has a pilot program to help pay for the necessary tests that follow suspicious findings on a mammogram.

Women over 40 are accustomed to routine yearly mammograms, suggested by medical guidelines. But when a woman in her 20′s or 30′s is here, it’s because she’s found cause for concern.

Mindy Miller Draffen was only 29-years-old.

She says, “I had a healthy lifestyle, and then one day I had come in from running outdoors in the cold. And I sat down on my couch, and I crossed my arms just like that, and I felt something that didn’t belong under my thumb. And so within probably 24 hours, I was in my doctor’s office and my life changed.”

Mindy was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, stage 2. Even with health insurance, Mindy suddenly faced some major financial concerns. She missed 78 days of work in 2016, alone, and then more in 2017, she says from surgeries, because that year was full of surgeries.

Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks paid Mindy’s rent for three months and helped her in other ways too. But many younger women face an even bigger challenge right after something suspicious turns up on the first mammogram. Without insurance, they’re suddenly faced with high costs from diagnostic tests, like ultrasounds and biopsies so crucial to their treatment plans.

Until recently, the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks hasn’t been able to help patients under 40 with those tests. BCFO launched a pilot program to meet that need. The non-profit is crowdfunding the project and competing for a $100-thousand grant once it raises six thousand dollars on its own.

Mindy is an outspoken advocate of this project.

She says, “I think it’s such an amazing organization that helps so many women n our community in our region. And I think, you know, the financial constraints that are put on a woman who’s going through diagnostics, or even just trying to figure out if she has breast cancer, you know, I think those those stresses can be very detrimental to their own healing, and just to give them that sense of relief, that sense of hope, you know, that sense of community there with people who understand and want to help them. I think that that’s invaluable.”

The Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks is a partner with KY3 and Mercy and Cox hospitals, bringing Buddy Check 3 to you every month. If you would like to support BCFO in its crowdfunding project, you have until August 13 to participate. This initial goal is $6,000 to be eligible for a $100,000 grant. Here is BCFO’s link to its crowdfunding project. https://acommunitythrives.mightycause.com/organization/Breast-Cancer-Foundation-Of-The-Ozarks

As always, please sign-up yourself and a buddy to be part of a our Buddy Check 3 program. We’ll send you a free packet of information.

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