The 2010 Dig for Life campaign kicks off Friday, October 8, as the Southeast Missouri State University volleyball athletes “dig” for breast cancer prevention, detection and education against Tennessee Tech at 7 pm in Houck Fieldhouse. Saint Francis Medical Center is again teaming with Redhawks volleyball athletes to raise funds that support preventive healthcare efforts for women across Southeast Missouri.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States. About one in eight women will have invasive breast cancer during her lifetime, and one in 33 will die from the disease.
Since it started 10 years ago, the Dig for Life program has given more than 1,000 free mammograms to women who could not otherwise afford them. Saint Francis and the Southeast volleyball team join forces every October to raise money for the fight against breast cancer in the Dig for Life campaign. Each $100 raised provides the crucial screening to one local woman at no cost to her.
“It’s overwhelming to see the positive impact of this program on our community,” says head coach Renata Heard. “The thank-you letters we receive from recipients are evidence of how Dig for Life helps women across the region.”
During the campaign, which is in conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Southeast volleyball team members secure pledges for each dig during their October home matches. A “dig” is a defensive dive a player makes for the ball to keep it in play after a strong hit from the opposing team.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women receive a mammogram every year starting at age 40. “A woman has a much better chance of surviving breast cancer if she catches it early,” says Trinka Hileman, RN, BSN, director of Womancare at Saint Francis. “Annual mammograms are extremely important in the fight against breast cancer. Breast cancer death rates are going down; this is probably because we are catching it earlier.”
“Since beginning this program, we have had many women receive a free mammogram but we have many more who are still waiting,” Hileman continues. “That is why this fundraising campaign is so important.”
Womancare’s breast health program includes advanced digital mammography (the first in the region to offer this technology) with on-site radiologist, breast ultrasound, clinical breast exams, breast self-exam instruction, educational materials and access to cancer physician specialists if needed.
2010 Southeast volleyball athletes include: Andrea Baylin, Kelly Benacka, Emily Coon, Paige Dossey, Emily Hughes, Berkley Idel, Brittney Kalinoski, Claire Keaton, Samantha Lowman, Karlee Lursen, Holly Reynolds, Kacie Ritter, Julie Shives, Meagan Webb and Colleen Yarber.
For more information on how to contribute to Dig for Life, call 573-331-5790 or visit www.digforlife.com. For information on mammography screening opportunities through Saint Francis Medical Center, call Womancare at 573-331-5209.