GREENFIELD — Organizers of Hancock Regional Hospital Foundation’s annual Women Helping Women event are calling the 2015 fundraiser a success after hundreds of people rallied together and donated thousands to support underinsured women in the area.
Nearly 370 community members who attended the event last month brought in about $56,000, which will be used to help cover the costs of breast health care for underinsured women in Hancock County.
That’s an increase from years past, said Allyson Smith, the hospital foundation’s manager. More than $50,000 was raised last year, and 218 uninsured women were able to receive health care thanks to those funds.
The number of women the program can aid each year varies based on the treatments patients require, but the increase in donations in 2015 should allow hospital staffers to provide care to even more local women in need, said Becky Pohland, coordinator of the Andis Women’s Clinic at the hospital, where Women Helping Women patients receive their care.
Women Helping Women began in 1998 with the creation of the Women’s Health Task Force at Hancock Regional Hospital. The program’s first celebration and fundraiser was planned the next year, and more than $10,000 in donations led to 26 women receiving mammograms, organizer said.
Since then, the effort has become “a gem for the community,” said Nancy Davis, the hospital foundation’s executive director. The organizations hosted its 17th annual fundraiser Oct. 21 at Adaggio’s in Greenfield.
The event sold out and packed the banquet hall. Donations, tickets sales, sponsorship and proceeds from live and silent auctions combined to bring in nearly $6,000 more than in 2014, Smith said. Those extra dollars will allow the hospital to more a bigger impact in the community in the coming year, she said.
The money donated to the Women Helping Women program is used to pay for cancer screenings, mammograms, biopsies and other diagnostic procedures, Pohland said. Those exams come with hefty price tags for some who don’t have insurance or are underinsured. A mammogram costs about $400, and some annual exams can cost women $800, she said.
Those helped by the program come to the hospital through referrals from doctors or word of mouth, Pohland said. But any woman who believes she has financial needs can make an appointment at the Andis Women’s Clinic. There, they can get more information about the Women Helping Women program and whether or not they qualify.
Donations to the program don’t have to come just once a year, Davis said. While breast cancer detection and prevention efforts rev up in October, the foundation accepts contributions for Women Helping Women throughout the year, she said.
Each year, Hancock Regional Hospital’s Women Helping Women event raises funds to support health care for uninsured or underinsured women in the community.
If you missed the event this year and still want to contribute to the cause, contact the hospital foundation at 317-468-4106, or mail gifts to Hancock Regional Hospital Foundation, 801 N. State St., Greenfield.