JAMESTOWN, N.D. (NewsDakota.com) – The No Excuses program may have saved the life of one Jamestown woman.
A widow and mother of four sons, Brenda Skavroneck delayed obtaining her regular Pap test and mammogram because she couldn’t afford it. She promised herself, and her children, she’d somehow budget for a physical in sometime 2018. That’s when she noticed an ad for No Excuses on Facebook.
No Excuses removes any barrier women have to receive preventative screenings. The event is a partnership between JRMC and Central Valley Health District. The organizations offered evening appointments, childcare and transportation along with funding from a variety of sources on Nov. 2-3. The goal of No Excuses is to help women who are underinsured and uninsured pay for mammograms and Pap tests.
“R.M. Stoudt is a big reason No Excuses exists,” said Lisa Jackson, JRMC Foundation Director. “The money from the annual Running of the Pink event inspired the program. That money, and the Women’s Way program through Central Valley Health helps pay for screening services.”
Skavroneck knows first hand what can happen when cancer is not caught early. Her husband, David Skavroneck, died in 2010 after Lymphoma spread through his body. David’s family has a predisposition to the disease. He didn’t get screened until it was too late, Brenda said.
That weighed on Skavroneck, especially because she knew something wasn’t right with her own body. For two years, she’d endured menstrual cycles that were so heavy and painful she couldn’t leave the house some days.
That’s why Skavroneck wasn’t surprised when the results from her mammogram and Pap test came back. Dr. Bailey Runkles, JRMC’s gynecologist & obstetrician had discovered pre-cancerous polyps. Even though Skavroneck said she knew something was wrong, the news still wasn’t easy to take.
“I went home and just cried,” she said.
This year, more than 20 women participated in No Excuses. Twenty-one received 3D Mammograms and 12 received women’s exams with Dr. Runkles.
One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute.
“That’s someone’s mother, daughter or wife,” Dr. Runkles said, “The good news is, if we catch this cancer, we can treat and cure it.”
Pap tests are equally as important, she said. Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of death in developing nations. The disease is still prevalent in the U.S, Dr. Runkles said. However, the difference is, doctors can screen for it here and women should take advantage of that.
“We want to break down any barriers women have to get the screenings they need,” Dr. Runkles said.
Skavroneck agreed. She is passionate about preventative screenings. She feels strongly that what happened to her husband doesn’t have to happen to others.
“Not only does cancer hurt the one who has it, but also the ones who love the person hurting. So when David was diagnosed, so were we,” she said. “Don’t procrastinate.”
Last year, 14 women received 3D Mammograms as part of No Excuses.
“It’s hard for some to believe, but there’s a huge need for this,” said Robin Iszler, unit administrator at Central Valley Health. “Many of these women could not have received these screenings without the support of Women’s Way and the JRMC Foundation.”
Nearly 33 percent of Stutsman County women reported not receiving a mammogram in the last two years. That’s lower than the state average in which only about 25 percent of women reported that they had not received a mammogram within the last two years.
In addition to women from Stutsman County, women from surrounding counties participated as well.
“That’s encouraging,” Iszler. “It’s tough for rural women to justify the time and travel for these appointments.”
Skavroneck said she’s scheduled for further testing in December. Whatever the results, she said she feels grateful.
“Everyday I wake up, I’m blessed to be here for my kids,” she said. “No Excuses is such a blessing.”
And while No Excuses is over, it’s important to remember that financial assistance is still available through Women’s Way and the JRMC Foundation, she said.
“Together, we have you covered,” Jackson said. “If women do have cancer, their options – and quality of life – are so much better if they catch it early.”
To learn more about Women’s Way, call (701) 252-8130. To schedule a 3D Mammogram or cervical cancer screening, call (701) 952-1050.
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