Store collects funds for Mammoth Hospital breasts cancer program.
If you’ve ever chosen to donate the remainder of your dollar to breast cancer at the Mammoth or Bishop Vons checkout, turns out you’ve been spending that money locally. This year marks the third Vons breast cancer fundraiser, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, that gives money directly to the Mammoth Hospital Foundation for its breast cancer program.
“About three years ago, [Mammoth Hospital radiologist] Dr. Yuri Parisky and I got together and wrote a letter to Vons corporate asking if we could use the money raised through the fundraiser locally,” recalled Mammoth Hospital Fund Development Coordinator Bubby Greene. “They wrote us back and said, ‘Absolutely; we’d love to do it.’”
The fundraiser collected $10,000 last year.
The money generated during October pays for mammograms for women without health insurance in Mono and Inyo counties, as well as covering gas, meals, and lodging needs for women with suspected or diagnosed breast cancer.
“Although I think we offer good care [at Mammoth Hospital], it’s limited,” said Dr. Parisky. Mammoth Hispital offers neither radiation therapy nor surgery for breast cancer, although it does offer chemotherapy.
“We cannot provide comprehensive care, so women have to travel,” he said. “Sometimes they have to travel several times a month, and that gets expensive.”
Dr. Parisky also noted that preventative screenings are crucial to detect breast cancer in its early stages to ensure effective treatment. Yet many women in Mono and Inyo counties lack health insurance to cover the expense.
“This month, we’re offering $10 mammograms; that comes out of the money generated by the Vons fundraiser,” he said. “If the cost is a deterrent to getting care, women will suffer in the long run.”
Greene said hospital staff help spread the word about the Vons breast cancer fundraiser by bagging groceries every Friday in October, from 3-5 p.m. He noted that the Hospital also raises funds by manning a beer tent at Bluesapalooza.
“It’s great that we have these two funds,” he said.
Jenna Watkinson, Vons Public Affairs and Government Relations Manager, noted that the breast cancer fundraiser is just one of many that Vons hosts in the community.Vons fundraises for childhood hunger in April, and begins a hunger drive on November 5 that runs through Christmas Day.
“We have pre-filled food bags with non-perishable staples that customers can pick up for $10 and donate at the checkstands,” she said.
Vons also raises funds for people with disabilities, and prostate cancer, Watkinson said.
“We try to do a lot to give back to the community,” she said. “We know we’re not just a grocery store in the community; we’re part of the community.”