MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The end of Breast Cancer Awareness month shouldn’t end your awareness of the disease, according to Sara Jane Gainor of Bonnie’s Bus.
Gainor, the Program Director for Bonnie’s Bus, said you can help save a life by attending the fourth annual Pink Party next week — an event that helps raise money for the mobile mammography unit.
“It’s a very expensive program, but obviously WVU and WVU Medicine feel it’s worth it to reach out to the women of West Virginia,” Gainor said on Morgantown AM.
Now in its eighth year, Bonnie’s Bus has performed around 15,000 mammograms and found 64 cases.
“There are many counties in West Virginia that have no mammography facility at all,” Gainor said. “Sometimes there are women that drive more than 50 miles or more than an hour to have to get a mammogram, each way.”
Even in Monongalia County, Gainor said there are plenty of isolated, rural communities that are in vital need of this service.
“We go to places like Blacksville where it still is somewhat of a drive for women if they don’t drive or if they have to have someone to drive them,” she said. “Even in some of the rural places in our own county, there are women who struggle getting into town to get a mammogram.”
41,211 women and 465 men died from breast cancer in 2014, according to the Center for Disease Control. Nearly six times as many women and five times as many men were diagnosed that year. A mammogram is recommended for average-risk women between the ages of 50 to 74 every two years. Gainor said that’s precisely why Bonnie’s Bus has been deemed so important in the local medical community.
“We go all over West Virginia and provide mammograms for West Virginians in the communities that they live and the places that they work,” Gainor said.
Bonnie’s Bus is named for Delegate Joe Statler’s mother, Bonnie, who died in 1992.
“She lived in a rural area of West Virginia and didn’t have access to mammograms, and she died of breast cancer,” Gainor said. “So Joe wanted to make sure that other women didn’t have the same problem.”
The Pink Party is scheduled for Nov. 13 at Touchdown Terrace at Milan Puskar Stadium. Pre-ordered tickets are $75. Admission at the door is $95. The Pink Party begins at 5 p.m. and will feature silent auctions and live music from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.