Mobile Breast Cancer Mammogram Van to provide free screenings

Published 4:20 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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The Order of the Eastern Star ADORA Chapter 102 is partnering with Suffolk Parks and Recreation to provide free breast cancer screenings next month through the Sentara Leigh Mobile Mammography van.

The event is 12:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at East Suffolk Recreation Center, 138 S 6th Street. The last screening is at 4:30 p.m.

ADORA Chapter 102 Order of the Eastern Star Worthy Matron Reese Nixon and Event Coordinator Tanya Hobbs both shared what inspired them to get involved with the mobile mammogram. 

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“My father passed away from cancer, several family members, things of that nature. I myself am a survivor. Very pleased to say that,” Nixon said. “The Order of the Eastern Star has been around the 1800s and we are based on community service, and there’s a recent study that shows there’s a high number of breast cancer and prostate cancer potent in the city of Suffolk.”

When she was looking at holding a mammography event in the city, Nixon said she contacted Hobbs.

A former employee of Sentara and a new candidate for Order of the Eastern Star, Hobbs explained how she got involved with the project.

“I got involved with Reese and the organization really before I became a candidate. I am a person who loves helping people in my community,” Hobbs said. 

She said breast cancer has touched the lives of so many people.

“Cancer period, but breast cancer is really, really running rampant. All ages, it’s not about age or gender anymore,” Hobbs said. “It’s just one of those types of cancers that’s been in my family. So, what better way, we felt collaboratively, than to come to a part of the city where they don’t get a lot of, in my opinion, sometimes they’re overlooked. It seems like there’s more activity in the northern part of the city.”

Hobbs pointed to the reason for selecting East Suffolk Recreation Center for the screenings.

“In this part of the city where we are, if people don’t have transportation or if they feel that transportation is an issue, because if you are in this part of Suffolk and something is within Northern Suffolk and you don’t have transportation, you possibly can’t get there,” she said. “But at least this way, the people that live in the surrounding area, they can walk there, they can come and know what their status is. For people who are uninsured, give them a way to get tested and then know their status. And this is just a small way for us to give back, to help people in that particular community.”

Nixon shared the details of the mammogram event.

“Not only are we going to do breast cancer, we’re going to make it a health awareness day, she said. “We’re going to have someone near that if we have some seniors, show them how to do some chair exercises.”

Nixon said partnering with Suffolk Parks and Recreation is making this possible.

“Suffolk Parks and Rec is allowing us to use the gymnasium so that if we have any other health care providers that want to come in.” 

Nixon also talked about the mental health assistance that will also be at the event.

“If you get a breast cancer diagnosis, sometimes people need additional help, but not just breast cancer. Right now with so much going on in the world, we’re hoping to have a mental health specialist have tables in there as well,” she said. “We’re going to have a couple other things going on with our focus on the screening, but we’re going to make it a health awareness.”

Nixon said the event would not have been possible without the help of East Recreation Center Supervisor Jason Jones.

The pair said they hope the event provides needed screenings for people of the community.

“My hope and prayer is what people will know with the mobile mammogram is that there is a piece of technology that will come to you, that will allow you to know what your status is with breast cancer,” Hobbs said. “Because some people think that you have to get to a hospital building and you have to be insured and you have to have all these things sometimes. In their minds that if they don’t have it, then they can’t get it. So my hope is that they will know that even if you don’t have certain things, you still can get tested and know your status of breast cancer.”

Nixon said she hopes they are able to provide mammograms for about 100 people.

“That would make my day,” she said. “Breast cancer can be caught. If caught in its early stages, it can be cured. And some people just don’t want to know. I literally went with for my examination with my surgeon and they were talking about the rise. My doctor had 165 new breast cancer appointments this year only, and this is February?”

Nixon urged people to not allow the fact they do not have health insurance to stop them from taking steps to save their lives.

“There are programs, there’s agencies, there’s things out there that can help you,” she said.

To schedule an appointment and for more information, call (757) 736-0040.