How the Initiative is changing West Virginia
In 2017, the Susan G. Komen organization removed West Virginia as an affiliate due to the state could not meet new national requirements to raise $1 million annually. A handful of volunteers who were passionate to continue breast cancer awareness and prevention, organized the West Virginia Breast Health Initiative (WVBHI). WVBHI operates on a similar platform as they had under Komen except all of the funds raised stay here in West Virginia and benefit West Virginians.
West Virginia Breast Health Initiative aims to raise awareness and fund breast cancer programs with an emphasis on increasing breast health education, financially assisting breast cancer screenings, facilitating patient navigation, and providing survivor services. Through fundraising efforts across the state, 100% of the proceeds remain in West Virginia to assist uninsured and under-insured West Virginians.
In the past 2 years, West Virginia Breast Health Initiative has been able to directly impact the newly diagnosed with education, navigation, funds, survivor kits and someone to personally talk with who has been where they are. Our goal is to have our first statewide grants ready to be applied for at the beginning of 2020.
Delvia – “Provide financial based needs assistance to those suffering from breast cancer and their families.” Our program helps survivors like Delvia from Alderson, WV. Delvia was diagnosed in 2016 and was able to attend her first Race on May 5th. Her daughter and granddaughter flew in from Miami to show their support and walk in honor of their Mom and Grandma. Sadly, the very excited Delvia had a stroke half way through the course and had to be admitted to the local hospital. WVBHI was able to immediately secure accommodations and provide financial assistance for her family, who were due to fly out that same day. After 4 days in the hospital, Delvia was released to go home to Alderson and her family was able to fly back to Miami.
Zena – “Provide immediate phone support and education to those diagnosed with breast cancer on topics such as insurance coverage.” When Zena was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2016, she and her boyfriend Sean, immediately came to the West Virginia Breast Health Initiative, Inc. office. Our Team at WVBHI were able to provide Zena and Sean the empathy, understanding, compassion, responsiveness and support that so many West Virginians and their families need when facing the frightening initial diagnosis of breast cancer and the impact of treatment. Today, Zena is cancer free and is a proud supporter and advocate for WVBHI.