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June 12, 2010

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June 12, 2010

Even with all my years in the medical profession, I get nervous when mammogram time rolls around, even though there is no family history of breast cancer on either side of my family. When you walk into the Julie Rogers center, you are immediately put at ease by the kind and caring staff. The center is set up so you feel like you are in your own home. Instead of extra-huge hospital gowns or worse, paper gowns, you are given a plush terrycloth robe to put on, refreshments and coffee are in the waiting area which have comfy rocking chairs and a plethora of magazines, or tv if you prefer. You are treated with respect and dignity whether your insurance is paying or you have no insurance. The Julie Rogers center also has a free screening at least twice a year in the entire county, if you don't have transportation to the location of the mobile scanner, they will utilize a senior citizen bus to pick you up and get you to the site. We are also extremely lucky to have a M.D. Anderson treatment facility in the area, a smaller version of the M.D. Anderson hospital in Houston which is 90 or so miles west of here. Even though I have been fortunate, there are 2 people who are near and dear to me who have had their lives dramatically changed by cancer. The first person is a fellow paramedic single mom of a 9 yr old daughter at the time she discovered a lump in her breast. She called her dr who immediately sent her for a mammogram and found a malignancy. She has always been such a positive person and you never saw her that she wasn't happy and the life of the party. She went through the chemo and radiation treatments, and our company allowed her to continue working at her insistance, but obviously could not work the streets, so they put her in dispatch and filled her spot on the ambulance with the dispatcher. We would watch her take a call and dispatch units while bending over the trash can puking her head off, she was not concerned about losing her hair, and wore the cutest hats. She beat the cancer, regained her strength and went back out on the streets. Two years later, the cancer returned in her lower back, drs removed the cancerous part of her spine and placed a cage device to stabilize her spine. She beat that while attending nursing school, and she never lost her positive attitude. Currently she is fighting cancer for her sixth time in the past ten years, and she has since remarried and her daughter is grown, but she still has a lot of living left to do and she is not going out without a fight. The second person who is dear to my heart is my uncle. Being the macho man he is, he ignored the fact that he was having increasingly difficulty swallowing, and when it got to the point that he choked on everything he put in his mouth, he finally relented and went to his dr. The dr sent him directly to the hospital for testing, and found out he had stage 4 esophageal cancer. He was sent to Houston's MD Anderson and was an inpatient there for many months, they rented an apt. on a month-to-month basis. The tumor finally shrank enough for them to operate, and they shortened the esophagus to the point that his stomach is up in his chest cavity, but they got it all and after teaching him to eat with his stomach so high, he was finally sent home cancer free. At his 6 month and 1 yr check-ups, he was given a clean bill of health. about 3 wks later he noticed a familar feeling and went back to the dr. His cancer has returned and it is inoperable because they took all they could of his esophagus the first time. He is undergoing chemo and radiation again but his prognosis is grim. The Julie Rogers gift of life center also does free prostate screening for the uninsured males. They are in Beaumont, TX and maybe we can get them on the Cancer Shmancer bandwagon in an even bigger way.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

having my yearly mammogram. I am not affliated with them in any other way.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

help at a mobile mammography van site; assemble literature bags for clients and outreach participants; spend time discussing services at an outreach event or presentation; raise money for the cause; spend time at a free prostate cancer screening; visit high school students to talk about the dangers of tobacco use...