Fundraising targets improved cancer detectionThe board at St. Mary’s Hospital in Superior is thinking pink and the community is rallying around the idea.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
The board at St. Mary’s Hospital in Superior is thinking pink and the community is rallying around the idea.
Fundraising efforts are underway to bring state-of-the-art technology to the Superior hospital for the detection of breast cancer.
This year, every swipe of the paddle and beat of a drum during the Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival moves St. Mary’s Hospital closer to its goal of bringing new digital mammography equipment to Superior.
It’s one of several ways the community can support efforts to offer this state-of-the-art technology.
“We’re really hoping to get the word out there, not only in the Twin Ports, but also surrounding communities,” said Denise Sorensen, foundation board vice chairwoman. “There’s such a willingness among women to get involved in the fight against breast cancer. It’s inspiring.”
She notes that raising a substantial amount of money is challenging, especially in today’s economy. But it’s a cause, she says, that many want to support.
“I don’t think there’s anyone out there who doesn’t know at least someone who has been affected or touched by cancer,” Sorenson said.
All around town, pink scissors signify salons supporting the “Quarter a Cut” campaign. Over the next several months, participating salons and stylists are donating a quarter for every haircut they perform. Many are encouraging their clients to consider a donation, too.
And Trends owner Julie Nelson is adding something extra to the “Touched by Breast Cancer Golf Classic” planned for Friday at Nemadji Golf Course. In addition to the annual tournament, Nelson is selling 100 chances at $25 each to win a “mini chopper” donated by Budweiser. She hopes to have $2,500 to put toward the equipment.
Members of the St. Mary’s Hospital of Superior Foundation Board, which is overseeing the efforts to bring digital mammography to the hospital, are excited to see how these initiatives will add up. They have also committed their own fundraising efforts to the cause – pledging to help bring in as much as $200,000 out of a $480,000 price tag.
“Our board is committed,” said Andy Lisak, foundation board chairman. “We’re currently discussing our strategies, and will be reaching out to community members to get them excited and involved, as well.”
Some of that excitement is already building, as teams set fundraising challenges for the Dragon Boat Festival. Lisak has participated in the event every year, paddling with a team of family members. “We do pretty well, which is amazing,” Lisak joked.
By offering digital mammography in Superior, Lisak says the service will bring added convenience for patients who like to receive their health care on the Superior side of the bridge.
Analog – film screen – mammography is a good way of detecting breast cancer, said Mary Lou Griffith, radiology director for SMDC. However, she said, digital mammography offers several advantages over the film method. She said digital images can be magnified and manipulated, eliminating the need for patients to return for repeated tests and the diagnostic equipment works faster and is more comfortable than traditional mammography. Unlike film, which can be damaged, the images can be stored electronically.
Griffith said the digital technology reduces the time to diagnosis and works better for women with more dense breast tissue.
For those reasons, Sorensen and Lisak believe this campaign will resonate in the area.
“The response from the community has been terrific,” Sorensen says. “I know we will raise the funds. There’s not a doubt in my mind that they will be raised – it’s such a worthy cause.”