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Community Spotlight: Six Uninsured Manatee-Area Women Receive Free Mammogram Screenings


BRADENTON – We Care Manatee – a program that addresses the increasing need of uninsured residents to be seen and treated by medical specialists – was proud to be the driving force behind a special event this Monday, where six local women received donated screening mammograms from We Care Manatee and the Manatee Diagnostic Center at Riverside Medical Center.

The mammograms were donated to We Care Manatee by the Manatee Diagnostic Center as a silent auction item for their 2014 Casino Night Fundraiser, which raised more than $60,000 to help uninsured people get the medical care they need. The Manatee Diagnostic Center is the exclusive provider of breast health services for We Care Manatee. The six Manatee-area women who received the screenings were chosen because they are all currently uninsured and did not qualify for mammogram screenings through the We Care Manatee general funding. “There is such an emphasis on early detection in the world of health care but actually very little funding for the preventative screenings intended to catch the early stages of illness,” said Jill Gass, Executive Director of We Care Manatee. “We can always get a patient in for a diagnostic mammogram but not always for the preventative screenings so I was thrilled we found a way to take care of these women.”

John & Paula Stalpes, the winning silent auction bidders for the mammogram screenings attended the afternoon event at 300 Riverside Drive East, Suite 3000. When asked about what inspired them to bid on the raffled screenings, Paula Stalpes stated, “I’m a nurse so I see a lack of preventative measures on a daily basis and we felt this was a great opportunity to help in a way that would make a direct impact on lives.”

Doctors and staff of the Manatee Diagnostic Center welcomed patients and guests with a private waiting area, pink lemonade and other refreshments. “I’ve been worried about my mammogram this year because I’m uninsured and I’ve known a lot of people that have been taken by breast cancer,” said Annie Thorpe, a recipient of a donated screening. “I’m very grateful for We Care Manatee and I think this creates good awareness, which is so important, because it touches so many people.”

These screening procedures are recommended on a yearly basis and play an important role in early cancer detection. A recent study by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) found that patients who had more frequent mammogram screenings had a significantly lower rate of lymph node positivity – or cancer cells in the lymph nodes – as compared to women who went longer intervals between mammography exams. “We Care Manatee has invested so much into this community to provide healthcare to those who otherwise fall through the cracks and we are proud to be a partner in that endeavor,” said Davis Graham, Executive Director of the Manatee Diagnostic Center. “At the end of the day it’s about helping people gain access to the healthcare they need and deserve.”

We Care Manatee Executive Director and winning bidder of donated mammograms with two of the recipient

patients. (Left to right: Jill Gass, Executive Director of We Care Manatee; Matilda Coleman, patient; Annie

Thorpe, patient; Paula Stalpes, winning bidder.)

About We Care Manatee

In 1999, the Manatee County Medical Society founded We Care Manatee to address the growing problem of providing comprehensive medical services to low-income, uninsured residents. Today We Care Manatee depends on more than 90 Manatee County medical specialists, who generously donate their free time and services to provide medical treatment for Manatee County residents. For information, contact Info@WeCareManatee.org.

About Grapevine Communications

Grapevine Communications provides full-service advertising, marketing and public relations services to clients nationwide. The firm is the most award-winning advertising agency in Sarasota, Florida; voted 2014 Best Marketing/PR Agency by SRQ Magazine Readers, and earned the 2010 Frank G. Berlin, Sr. Small Business of the Year Award by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. For more information on Grapevine Communications, contact Miranda Spinner at MSpinner@grapeinc.com or 941-351-0024.


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