While images of wealth, privilege and lives of luxury are used to represent Sarasota to the world, those of us working in healthcare and other human services know well that there is a separate and parallel Sarasota hidden between the glossy magazine covers. In that parallel Sarasota, one encounters countless women who cannot afford so much as a mammogram, much less breast diagnostic procedures such as ultrasounds and biopsies. Thankfully, some of the more fortunate among us see to it that those women need not forego the breast health care they need. Breast Health Sarasota (BHS) is there for them.
Founded by Suellen Kaeb and others from the Greater Sarasota Women's Golf Association and other concerned citizens of Sarasota County in 1999, Breast Health Sarasota is a 501c3 non-profit organization that raises funds for breast health education, breast screening and diagnostic services, even breast reconstruction surgery for low-income, uninsured women diagnosed with breast cancer. Women wishing to ensure that no woman needs to die from breast cancer due to a lack of income or insurance raise money for BHS through golf associations, women’s organizations and country clubs. BHS then grants those funds to various Sarasota organizations such as Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, The Center for Building Hope, and as mammogram vouchers through local churches.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Breast Health Grant Support Program provides free-of-charge screening and diagnostic services to roughly 150 women per month. Breast Health Sarasota funds cover services for 40-50 of those women that come through the Grant Support Program each month. In addition, BHS is funding breast reconstruction for 4 low-income, uninsured Grant Support women diagnosed with breast cancer, an incredible opportunity for these women who would otherwise not have the option of breast reconstruction.
Breast Health Sarasota is an incredibly important community vein connecting the lives of some of the more fortunate among us with some of the less fortunate among us, filling the pages between the glossy covers with images of community and giving.
To make a tax-deductible donation to Breast Health Sarasota, go to http://breasthealthsarasota.org/bhs-donation/. You can contact Breast Health Sarasota through their website at http://breasthealthsarasota.org/contact-form/.