BreastFest 2014 kicked off on a brisk Saturday morning at 8:30 sharp with a 5K walk.
"I'm here for these people who support breast cancer," Lisa Branch said. "I believe this is for cancer patients and survivors and for those that have passed. My sister died from breast cancer five years ago next month so I'm walking for her this year."
"After two years at Pine Island Center we are back at the St. James City Civic Center," Mary Scott said. "This year's event centers around the theme 'It Takes an Island.' This event, the morning walk and the afternoon celebration, is held to raise money for the prevention and detection of breast cancer for island residents who are uninsured or underinsured."
At the Partners for Breast Cancer Care booth there was a pink bench with messages from breast cancer survivors, victims and their families.
From Our Hearts joined forces with Partners for Breast Cancer Care and Regional Cancer Center/Lee Memorial Health System for the procedures necessary for those islanders who qualify and are facing possible breast cancer.
"It's all about raising money to help women and men right here in our community," Barb Adams, president of Partners for Breast Cancer Care, said. "Everything we raise for Partners stays right here in Lee County and we're supporting the women of Pine Island and From Our Hearts because they support us. Our organization raises money for diagnostics for people who are uninsured or underinsured and can't afford to get a diagnosis.
"Recently we're finding out that many of the women that need help can't get out to get it and that's the reason we're partnering with organizations like the Beacon of H.O.P.E. to take the mobile unit to those communities," Adams said."
"We have an event planned on March 25," Betsy Haesemeyer, director of the Beacon of H.O.P.E., said. "The Beacon will be theirs (Partners for Breast Cancer Care) from 10 (a.m.) to 2 (p.m.). Pine Islanders get introduced to the nurse navigators, physicians will be there to do what may be their first breast exam in years. For some reason St. James City does not register in the system and women that live there are not receiving services possibly because they don't have transportation or they don't know who to talk to, so this is an opportunity for them to be able to take advantage of these services."
Partners for Breast Cancer Cares "Breast Health Caravan" will be at the Beacon of H.O.P.E. on March 25. It will offer:
Private no-cost breast examination by a volunteer physician
Intake process with bilingual case manager for qualification for mammogram
Self-breast examination demonstration
No cost screening mammogram
Informational hand-out packet
To qualify you must have:
Lived in Lee County for the last 12 months
A Social Security card and Lee County photo ID
A prescription from a doctor for breast care
No health insurance
Meet the financial guidelines ($1915 a month or less for a single person; $2585 a month or less for a family of two; $3255 a month or less for a family of three; $3925 a month or less for a family of four; $4595 a month or less for a family of five or more)
"And for people that don't quite qualify we at the Beacon of H.O.P.E. will see that they get a mammogram," Haesemeyer said. "The same thing goes for people here today."
"Also it's about education and teaching women about doing their own breast exam and how hard you need to press to determine whether something is there," Adams said. "People can visit our website at www.pfbcc.org for more information. They should also call 454-8583 to make an appointment or attend the event."
On display at the Partners for Breast Cancer Care booth there was a pink bench with messages from breast cancer survivors, victims and their families. For a donation people can leave a message on the bench: "To all warriors keep up the fight," "We all miss you, Lois."
The Beacon of HOPE is located at 5465 Pine Island Road, Bokeelia, FL 33922; 239-283-5123