Investing in Prevention Saves Lives
The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) in Fort Collins, Colorado is a recipient of a 2012 Community Grant from the Prevent Cancer Foundation. This grant enables volunteers and staff to work year-round to provide community outreach through women’s wellness education and information about low-cost health services. This work encourages at-risk and low-income women to schedule preventive care and understand risk factors and lifestyle choices for avoiding cancer.
The grant funded by the Prevent Cancer Foundation helps the WRC provide more preventive services and outreach in Fort Collins. A study by the Trust for America’s Health estimates that an annual investment of $10 per Coloradan in community-based prevention initiatives could save more than $232 million annually in health care costs after five years — a $5.05 return for every $1 invested.
With this grant, the WRC aimed to provide a full spectrum of cancer services, including free or affordable screening checkups, diagnostic procedures and cancer treatments. Leveraging the Foundation grant along with 486 hours of volunteer time – equal to twelve 40-hour work weeks, the WRC was able to eliminate barriers to quality health care for many women of the community. Upon receiving the Foundation’s Community Grant, the WRC was successful at:
- Providing free mammograms for 391 women.
- Navigating 118 women through diagnosis and/or treatment options for breast or gynecological cancers.
- Educating 217 women in women’s health workshops.
- Engaging 1,416 women in face-to-face conversations about women’s health issues at health fairs.
Of the women that received services, approximately 98 percent were low-income.
The WRC continues to empower more community members with the guiding principle, health doesn’t start in health care facilities — it begins wherever we “live, work, play and pray.” The WRC focuses its energy on reaching out to women in correctional centers, homeless shelters, domestic violence safe houses, food banks, rec centers, work sites, shopping centers and church basements. This community-based prevention approach provides an opportunity to connect with these women in their everyday environment where they can easily receive cancer prevention education and early detection screenings.
The grant allowed WRC to personally impact the health of our community as shown through the story of Helen, one of our attendees. Helen visited one of WRC’s in-home workshops at her sister’s house. Helen, her sister, and two friends hadn’t had mammograms in years, so all four carpooled to a mobile mammogram van hosted by the WRC. Helen received an abnormal result on her screening mammogram. A WRC patient navigator documented her financial need and arranged an ultrasound and biopsy at no cost. Transportation was a barrier for Helen, so WRC provided gas vouchers to travel 130 miles for her care. Helen’s results showed there was no evidence of cancer and she was given a referral to follow up in six months.
Patient Skye McKenzie is thankful for her mammogram service as she believes WRC helped diagnose cancer just before it spread beyond her breasts. Skye expressed her immense gratitude to WRC, “I want supporters of the Women’s Resource Center to know that prevention and early detection of cancer is not just a hypothetical idea. I am alive today because generous people donated to WRC. Thank you.”
These success stories were made possible by the Prevent Cancer Foundation and the Women’s Resource Center.
For more information on the Women’s Resource Center in Fort Collins, CO visit http://www.womens-resource.org/
Read more about the 2012 grantees and previous grant awards.