When you hear about a community member struggling with cancer, often you think of the emotional and physical toll it has on the individual and their family. What often is not as visual is the financial strain that ongoing treatments and travel puts on a family unit. Hospital bills, gas, hotel stays, eating out, deductibles; the list goes on as unexpected costs of these life-disrupting illnesses pile up.
When the Women’s Health Fund through the Windom Area Health Foundation (Foundation) was established in 2011, there were two main goals set up for the fund:
- Purchase digital mammography equipment and support future equipment needs at Windom Area Health.
- Support local women’s health by providing financial support to patients undergoing women’s health treatments, and providing community education.
Since 2012, the Foundation has made just over $37,000 in funds available to local women. Support is provided for not only breast cancer, but also for any form of women’s cancers or breast health treatments, including preventative mastectomy surgery. Funds come in the form of gas cards or credit, or the Foundation may pay expenses on behalf of the community member (i.e. pay a medical bill or arrange for a hotel stay). The fund has also helped purchase new mammo gowns for patients of all sizes.
How Can You Help?
First and foremost, the fund exists to help local women and we want to make sure we are reaching those in need. Spread the word that there is financial help locally! The application is available online at https://windomareahealth.org/about-us/foundation-donations/ or by calling Emily Masters at 507-831-0625 and we can mail an application to you. The applications and recipients are kept confidential, with the fund award being determined by the Foundation board typically within 1-2 weeks of a submitted application.
Secondly, the main fundraiser for the Women’s Health Fund is the annual Tammy Hall Breast Health Walk, which is coming up on October 12th. While the main focus is a 1-mile or 5K walk, there are plenty of other ways to support the event including buying a raffle ticket, or coming to the registration hour and participating by purchasing ‘pink’ items such as phone pop-sockets, pom-pom stocking hats, hot/cold tumblers, or coffee from our new coffee bar. Proceeds raised during the event go to the Women’s Health Fund and 10% is donated to breast cancer research.
Event details can be found on runsignup.com/breasthealthwalk
Blog Written By: Emily Masters, Chief Human Relations Officer