Katie Michaud, director of oncology services at Gwinnett Medical Center, Jason Chandler, President of the Gwinnett Medical Foundation, Kimberly Goff, executive director of the It’s the Journey, Inc. and Marcia Lambert, a survivor, of Lawrenceville, attended a grant check presentation on Wednesday from It’s the Journey Inc. to the Gwinnett Medical Foundation for its mobile mammography unit. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)
LAWRENCEVILLE — When the producer of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer had available grant funds, it reached out to the Gwinnett Medical Foundation.
Kimberly Goff, the executive director of It’s the Journey, Inc., said a previous long-time grantee, the DeKalb Medical Foundation, ended its mobile mammography program except for corporate events, she offered the funds to GMF. Because several of the organization’s grantees serve Gwinnett residents, and several participants of the 11th annual walk on Oct. 5-6 in Atlanta hail from Gwinnett, Goff said the partnership seemed to fit.
The partnership between It’s the Journey and the GMF includes a $25,050 check, which was presented on Wednesday at Gwinnett Medical Center-Lawrenceville, to benefit programs that focus on breast cancer screening, early detection, education, treatment, counseling and support services.
Because it was losing $500,000 per year, the DeKalb program announced it would no longer reach the underserved population, Goff said, so she set out to find a new home for the grant money.
“We specifically wanted to fill that gap,” Goff said. “We wanted to use that money for the underserved population.”
In its 20th year, GMF’s mobile mammography unit, the Care-A-Van, makes mammograms more convienant for people at health fairs and at their employer if they can’t be screened at a hospital. This grant will pay for about 150 mammograms as GMC also looks to work with the Good Samaritan and Hebron Community Health clinics.
The Care-A-Van offers mammograms performed by experienced specialists and interpretation by board-certified radiologists with an advanced expertise in mammography.
“The whole purpose of the caravan is to reach people where they’re at in the local communities,” said Katie Michaud, director of oncology services at GMC. “So we’re able to bring this out for better accessibility for women. We’re able to offer mammograms for much lower costs than what we can do in a big hospital facility. This gives people access that they would normally not have. It’s all about diagnosing cancer as early as we can, to help treat it, and to help get people through that phase and on to survivorship and enjoying the rest of their lives.”
A participant in the 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer, and a survivor for nearly two years, Marcia Lambert of Lawrenceville said she participates in part because the funds stay in the local community.
“It directly helps people,” Lambert said. “I was real lucky, they caught it early, other than the fact that I did have cancer, everything else was positive.”