Area runners join Race for the Cure

About 25 people took part in a "Ready to Race" event at the Health Connect Center in Martinsville on Thursday evening. The event was held to prepare for Saturday's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Roanoke.

April 24, 2015

    About 60 area residents are expected to take part in the Blue Ridge Race for the Cure run Saturday in Roanoke.
    The run, sponsored by the Virginia Blue Ridge Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, will be held at the River's Edge sports complex.
    The 60 local residents are divided among five teams. Some have been practicing and exercising together to prepare for the run.
    Also, some of those runners took part in a "Ready for the Race" event Thursday evening at the new Health Connect Center in uptown Martinsville. About 25 people did line dances to exercise, have fun and "cheer on" the runners, according to Rita Winbush, director of the Health Connect Center.
    The event was part of the Ladies First MHC Community Breast Health Initiative of the Health Connect Center. That center is largely funded by The Harvest Foundation.
    Susan G. Koman has donated nearly $200,000 to the local breast health initiative, Winbush said. Two weeks ago the latest grant was awarded for 2015-16, she added.
    Funds are used to provide mammograms for uninsured and underinsured women, Winbush said, as well as breast health education and information.
    Last year, more than 450 ultrasounds, screenings and diagnostic exams were provided through the initiative, according to Winbush.
    It is especially important, she said, that more than half the cases of breast cancer diagnosed were stage one, the earliest stage of the disease.
    The initiative also partners with and/or has received funds from the Julius Hermes Breast Cancer Center at Memorial Hospital in Martinsville, Martinsville Area Community Foundation and the Every Woman's Life program of the Virginia Department of Health, Winbush said.
    She added that under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), screening mammograms are considered preventive, so there is no copay or deductible for people with insurance.
    However, many area residents fall below the poverty level. Because Medicaid was not expanded in Virginia, they fall into a gap where no coverage is available, Winbush said.
    The Ladies First program helps fill that gap, she added.


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