Sunday, September 14, 2008

Susan G Komen Race for the Cure

It's that time of year again! For the past few years I have participated with fellow Jazzercisers in the Komen Charlotte race. Each year I've raised a little more money and last year it was more than $600! I'm asking for your help again. The race is October 4.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation provides funding for breast cancer research and education, screening, and treatment programs. The Komen Charlotte unit specifically helps those underserved women in the Charlotte area.

Keeping ahead of the game is no small expense. As a person who has severely fibrocystic breast tissue, my own physician visits and diagnostic tests to ensure that I don't have any cancer cells, run into the thousands of dollars each year. Literally. I just pulled the bills from 2007 and found they totalled $3,754.30! What did that all entail? Well, I had a lump that was hurting me last January. It turned out, as it usually does, to be a cyst that had just gotten exceptionally large. Because it was miserably uncomfortable, I had it aspirated. More than $1,500 to be sure it was indeed a cyst and not a mass (something you have to do each time, even though you are certain of its' nature), and then to have the surgeon pull out the fluid.

Then I visited the Blumenthal Cancer Center, on a referral from my general practitioner. Because I do have such cystic tissue, breast exams are complicated and not terribly helpful. By becoming a regular (every 6 months) patient at Blumenthal, I am now hooked up with a surgeon that specializes in breast tissue. He does an exam and checks out anything suspicious with his handy-dandy ultrasound machine right there. This keeps me from getting on a roller coaster ride of appointments and wait times if there is anything he wants to look into further. Physician visit with ultrasound? More than $350. (Although not all visits need ultrasound. My fall visit was just a little over $250.)

And then there are the mammograms. The regular ones? They don't cut it with my dense tissue. I have to have the magical digital ones. Several hundred bucks. I'm supposed to have one of those every 6 months too, but right now I'm running a couple of months behind.

And there is the breast MRI I will now have every 2 years. $1700+.

So, that was my bill last year. My own share was about $500 because that's my deductible. I am very fortunate to have very good insurance. And access to some of the best physicians and technology available. I feel quite confident that, in the event I were to be found to have cancer, my survival chances would be very high.

But not everyone is so lucky. One in every eight women in our country will be stricken with breast cancer in their lifetime, and many do not have insurance, or they have insurance that may not cover everything they need to get the best care. The Komen Foundation is there to help.

And as a side note: Another reason why I like this charity above others: They are consistently rated among the best charities in terms of efficiency. They do not waste a bunch of their fundraising dollars on expenses and salaries.

So there you have it. If you could consider donating to Komen Charlotte, please click here or the logo above and it will take you to my fundraising page. If you'd rather not do it via the internet, send me an email and I'll give you my home address.

Thank you!

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