HAMPTON, Va. — Breast Cancer Awareness Month is months away but Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated is reminding you to get screened no matter the month.
"We know that as women, we always take care of everyone else first but we have to take care of ourselves first," said Dr. Ethlyn Gibson with Regional Cancer Health Disparities Forum of Hampton Roads.
That’s what Michelle Phillips decided to do Thursday morning after pushing off her mammogram appointment for a while.
"I was referred a few years ago and then, unfortunately, lost my insurance," she said. "So, I haven’t been able to get it.”
She immediately hopped on the opportunity after learning the sorority would provide free 3D mammograms outside the Hampton Coliseum.
“I was definitely relieved because I definitely didn’t have the out-of-pocket cost to pay for something like this,” Phillips said.
Since 2018, this bus travels the country to service many who are uninsured, providing free mammogram screenings and, in some areas, COVID testing and vaccinations.
“It’s really been a blessing to a lot of people this year, particularly during COVID where people lost their jobs and lost their health insurance," said Allison Baker with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Once the screening is over, they are set up with either Sentara Healthcare or Riverside Health system to follow up on the results. Dr. Gibson said that follow-up appointment is vital. She said many don’t follow up because they can’t afford it.
“They do have wrap-around services that will be able to assist you. So, please don’t let money be an issue,” Dr. Gibson said.
The unit will later travel to California, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.