Funded with grants from the Northeast Ohio Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Ohio Department of Health, the Cervical and Breast Cancer Project out of Trinity Health System, in conjunction with Joel Pomerene Hospital, promotes breast and cervical cancer awareness and education in 9 Ohio counties with some of the highest concentrations of Amish in the United States.
"I call the project my 'Field of Dreams', after the movie that described how, 'if you build it, they will come,'" program director Janet Sharpe said. "Initially, many Amish women weren't getting screened. However, once we initiated the program and began sending reminders, the women came, and they brought their friends, their relatives and their neighbors. It has been a tremendous success."
Komen for the Cure not only provides funding for screening, education and treatment, but for transportation as well, often a critical need for Amish women who have no other way of making the long trek to the hospital. Further, as many Amish and Mennonites do not have answering machines, tailored letters are sent to the women if follow-up is required.
While the program has been around since 1999 and has served over 6,000 women, the grant was recently increased to include Appalachian women as well.
"We have had Appalachian women come in who did not know anything was wrong or that they even needed to be screened and found cases of breast cancer," Janet said, in a testament to the programs success.
The Cervical and Breast Cancer Project, serving Amish, Mennonite and Appalachian women, is a prime example of Komen for the Cure's grassroots efforts targeting those most in need. To get involved with the many innovative and important projects Komen supports, please call 216.292.CURE or visit komenneohio.org.