Give Your 18 campaign fights breast cancer, celebrates Mother’s Day

Mississippi Link Newswire

In an ongoing effort to support Mississippians in need of early detection to fight breast cancer, Baptist Health Systems’ fund for the girls program has launched its second annual “Give Your 18” campaign in honor of Mother’s Day.

The “Give Your 18” program starts 18 days before Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is May 8. Participants make a tax-deductible donation of $18 to fund for the girls in honor or memory of their mothers, grandmothers or loved ones. Then, they are encouraged to ask nine of their friends or loved ones to give $18 as well. When all 10 participate in the campaign, this generates enough to cover the $180 cost of a mammogram at the Center for Breast Health at Baptist for Women. Once an online donation is given at, the donor can send a card, provided by fund for the girls, in honor or memory of someone for Mother’s Day.

“When a person turns 18, they are officially an adult. Their moms, grandmothers or loved ones have cared for them through those years. So, we wanted to get the younger generation thinking about the importance of breast health,” said Baptist Health Foundation Events and Development Specialist Martha Hooey. “Statistics still show that early detection of breast cancer is the best way to fight the disease. We’ve created this fund to help those who cannot afford breast health services and postpone seeking help because of their inability to pay.”

More than 100,000 Mississippi women age 40 and older didn’t get a mammogram last year because they didn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford it. Baptist Health Foundation supports the battle against breast cancer through fund for the girls. Due to the way the fund is structured, there is no administrative overhead cost, so 100 percent of fund for the girls contributions stays right here in our community and goes directly to patient care. The fund helps provide breast cancer screenings and diagnostic testing for those who are unable to pay for the services. In fact, the program has been able to assist with needs through the full continuum of breast cancer care. Recipients must meet clinical and fund guidelines.

Adrienne Smith Russell, RN, MSN, CBPN-IC, is the breast health patient navigator at the Center for Breast Health at Baptist for Women. She said that using fund for the girls takes the financial burden off women’s shoulders.

“I have seen women who are surviving because of mammograms. There are people desperately needing financial help. They just want the peace of mind that their mammogram is normal or to be able to detect findings early. This fund gives them that,” added Russell. “Some women and men, without the fund, would further delay their own medical needs because they were unable to pay. I know people that have utilized the dollars, have been diagnosed with cancer, treated and now are survivors giving back to the community through encouragement and spreading knowledge. This fund did and will continue to make a difference in lives.”

Since its establishment in 2012 by Baptist Health Foundation, fund for the girls has raised over $500,000 in contributions, helping 1,027 people ranging from ages 35 to 65 years old. The contributions cover mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies and other breast health services.

“Our discounted screening mammogram program is made possible because of our commitment to provide this service at cost. This widens the reach of the single-most important measure in order to increase survival for breast cancer patients,” added the Center for Breast Health Radiologist Gary Cirilli, MD. “Statistics show that early detection of breast cancer, primarily through screening mammograms, is the single most important factor for decreasing death rates.”

The Baptist Health Foundation is the philanthropic division of Baptist Health Systems. The foundation seeks to support Baptist’s mission to provide quality healthcare in a way that reflects the compassion and traditions of the Christian faith. As an independent, charitable, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, Baptist receives generous contributions from our patients and friends where donations support patient care.

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