MCHC Health Centers Supports “Mendo Mashers” as They Raise Money for Breast Cancer Care and Awareness
Ukiah, CA – On July 8-9, a team of ten women supported by MCHC Health Centers will travel to San Francisco for the AVON 39: Walk to End Breast Cancer, a two-day fundraiser where participants walk 39.3 miles. The team, called the Mendo Mashers, hopes to raise more than $11,000 to increase access to care for local breast cancer patients.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in American women; in fact, about 1 in 8 will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. In 2017, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates more than 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women, along with 63,000 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. The ACS also estimates that more than 40,000 women will die from breast cancer this year.
Mendo Masher team member Carolyn Wyatt, a women’s health nurse practitioner at MCHC’s Care for Her program, described the many reasons people participate in the AVON 39 event: to honor loved ones struggling to survive cancer, to remember those who lost the fight against cancer, and in her case, to continually work toward more and better treatment for her patients.
This is the second year MCHC Health Centers has supported the team, which in addition to Wyatt includes Elizabeth Birchmier, Patti Boatright, Lynn Chevalier, Essie Fausto, Maria Galarza, Angie Gibson, Karen Oslund, Heather Walsh, and team captain, Shannon Welch-Johnson.
To prepare for the event, team members train individually, walking 20-30 miles a week, and participate in group training walks in Potter Valley, on the coast, and two weeks before the event, an 18-mile walk from Ukiah to Hopland.
To participate, the team must raise a minimum of $10,800. Wyatt said, “We have nearly met our goal already and will likely exceed it. Last year we raised more than $18,000.”
She continued, “We have all been touched by breast cancer—some personally, some family members; and as for me, I have many patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Some have won their battles and some have not. We must find a cure!”
Mendo Mashers, a name inspired by the mammogram exam, includes many members who are associated with health care in some way. Karen Oslund, for example, is the executive director of the Cancer Resource Centers (CRC), a local non-profit dedicated to making sure no one in Mendocino County faces cancer alone; learn more about the CRC’s work at crcmendocino.org. Last year, AVON awarded the CRC a $75,000 grant to provide expanded access to mammograms for women in our county, as well as increased patient navigation services, education, and other support services for local breast cancer patients and their loved ones.
Oslund said, “It’s exciting to see that the money raised in San Francisco comes back to our county and directly benefits local patients and families.”
MCHC Health Centers and the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County work collaboratively to help cancer patients and their families receive treatment that best fits their physical and emotional needs. Both organizations accept patients and clients, regardless of their ability to pay. The Cancer Resource Center does not charge clients for services, but rather depends on the generosity of financial supporters through grant funding and donations. MCHC Health Centers accepts all types of health insurance and has financial counselors who work with patients to help them acquire health insurance or develop a payment plan according to the patients’ ability to pay.
Located at 333 Laws Avenue in Ukiah, Hillside Health Center provides comprehensive health services including primary medical care, Care for Her women’s health, pediatrics, dentistry, counseling, psychiatry, chiropractic and specialty care. MCHC looks forward to growing to meet the ever-expanding needs of the communities it serves. Learn more at www.mchcinc.org.