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Mammogram marathon taking place in the South Bay

April 9, 2010 1:15:10 PM PDT
A very unusual kind of marathon is beginning at a hospital in Los Gatos. It's all part of an effort to raise awareness about breast cancer and mammograms. Hundreds of kids in Santa Clara County contributed some incredible time and effort.

As it is with many other things in life -- it usually takes a tragedy to get things started and that is exactly what happened here. Members of the Santa Clara Sporting Club decided to try and provide free mammograms because one of their moms died of breast cancer and they decided to do something about it.

Tracie Smith, 41, is having a mammogram taken at the El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos. She meets the criteria that were set by fundraisers in order to receive a free mammogram.

"Being age 40, there is no family history of breast cancer in my family, but there is a history of cancer -- so just to be on the safe side," said Smith.

Smith is one of 72 women who will receive free mammograms Friday and Saturday.

"The targeted women that we were looking at were those that previously did not have a mammogram anywhere else. Also if they were 40 and older, additionally if they didn't have insurance and if they were low income," said David Hinojosa of El Camino Hospital.

The free tests were made possible by the 500 members of the Santa Clara Sporting Club, these young soccer players, with the help of a local business, raised $47,000 over two years in order to help women that might be in trouble with breast cancer and couldn't afford the test.

"I have insurance for like major medical things, hospitalization and things, but when I have gotten these mammograms before it was not covered. So I'm getting a little strapped these days and it is a great opportunity," said Jean Orr.

The hospital said that woman over 40 should receive regular mammograms and they hope events like this raise awareness for the need for regular testing.

The reason this is called a marathon is because staff is working Friday and Saturday to give a free mammogram every 20 minutes. There was only enough funding for 72 free mammograms and every one of those slots has been taken.

All the free mammogram spots are taken for this weekend, but El Camino Hospital is taking down names for future free screenings and they will send ABC7 viewers a women's breast health package.

Women's Health and Breast Health Package includes:

  • Breast self-exam shower card
  • Free membership in the Women's Hospital health membership program ($25 fee will be waived for ABC7 viewers) that offers monthly health newsletter on women's health issues, free screenings and consultations for women and free healthy gifts and discounts.

For more information, call (800) 216-5556.


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