DiscoveryMy experience as a breast cancer survivor inspired me to establish The Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative (WBHI) because I realized how critical early detection is in saving the lives of women diagnosed with breast cancer, and it was the key to my successful outcome. I was able to access valuable resources early on and learn about treatment options that worked best for me, given my diagnosis.
MotivationThroughout treatment and recovery, I thought about women who were losing the fight against breast cancer simply because their socioeconomic status prohibited them from benefiting from the early detection screening and treatment that could save their lives. Seeking a solution, it became clear that the best way to level the playing field was to make resources accessible to at-risk women by bringing vital services into their neighborhoods. Thus, WBHI was created as an innovative targeted door-to-door outreach to emphasize the importance breast health and early detection, and to provide at-risk women with access to breast screening and/or treatment. WBHI was founded on the fact that early detection saves lives.
The OrganizationSince WBHI’s inception, dedicated volunteers have knocked on more than 83,000 doors to educate women about the importance of breast health in three South Florida counties – Miami Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. At-risk women have benefited from the outreach intervention through neighborhood mobile mammography vans visits, referral mammograms, ongoing annual mammograms, as well as follow up screening and treatment. The vision to fight breast cancer as a life threatening disease – has become a reality.
This truly collaborative effort has rallied the community together to ensure that women have the opportunity to benefit from the early detection of breast cancer, regardless of their ability to pay. Stakeholders, students, and layman have shared in this success. Everyone has played an important role in breaking down the barriers to life saving resources to this vulnerable population.
As I look to the future in meeting the needs of the women in our communities, prevention and early detection remain the focus of our mission. In doing so, we realize that there are opportunities to have a broader impact on saving the lives of at-risk women and reducing disparities. Building on our success over the past nine years, we expanded our focus to include the leading cause of death in American women – heart disease. In 2013, heart disease was integrated into our nationally acclaimed door-to-door outreach campaigns to educate women about breast cancer as well as heart disease. In conjunction with the door-to-door educational component of outreach, each campaign culminates with not only mammograms; women also receive blood pressure and cholesterol screenings. While waiting for screening, they participate in physical activity and nutrition sessions. After they have completed their screenings, each woman receives a bag of fresh fruit and vegetables along with a healthy eating guide to address risk factor of both diseases.
Early detection and a healthy lifestyle are key to beating both breast cancer and heart disease, and WBHI exists to ensure that at-risk women to have a fighting chance. Please join us on this journey.Regards,