There are many people wearing all kinds of hats in this world.  It doesn’t matter what kind or type of hat a person is wearing, they are not excluded from the possibility of being diagnosed with breast cancer.    According to the American Cancer Society, “breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed among United States women, accounting for 25% of all cancer diagnoses.    If a woman lives to be 85 years of age, there is a one of eight chances that she will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  In 1960, the risk was one of 14. Even though breast cancer is expected in more women than men, men are not immune to being diagnosed. ” 

These are very scary statistics for all women, but the scariest of all is that “patients with private insurance are more likely to be diagnosed with stage I cancer, while patients that are private pay will be diagnosed with stage III or stage IV cancer.  Eighty-nine percent of patients with private insurance will survive the 5 year mark and yet only 77% will survive for the private pay.”

With these statistics in mind, the Cushing Regional Hospital Foundation is sponsoring its 8th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon.  The theme for the 2009 luncheon is “Hats Off for Breast Cancer Awareness.”

The goal of the luncheon is to raise funds to assist patients in the Cimarron Valley Region that need medical attention for breast cancer, but can not afford it.   Many patients put off having a mammogram due to cost of the procedure, and they also delay treatment due to the lack of money.    With the Breast Cancer Awareness Fund, our goal is to provide mammograms for those in need and/or provide medical treatment for patients in need.  In recent history, in addition to providing mammograms, the CRH Foundation, with the assistance of the citizens in the Cimarron Valley Region, has paid over $6000 in outstanding medical bills for a local lady for medical procedures necessary for treating breast cancer and over $2000 for another lady that was in need. 

The money making campaign will be in full force beginning October 1.  Individuals and companies from the community and departments from Cushing Regional Hospital will donate the baskets for the Silent Auctions. Currently, there are over 75 baskets on display.  They range in all sizes and all values.  This is the largest number of baskets that have ever been donated.  It is our belief that the citizens in the area realize the importance of these funds and they want to be involved.   The baskets are on display and ready for bidding at Bank of Cushing (both locations) and SpiritBank.    On October 20, the baskets will be moved to the First United Methodist Church where they will be available for the final bidding from 10:30 to 11:30 AM.  The baskets will be sold to the highest bidder and winners will be announced at the conclusion of the Luncheon.  Bidders do not have to be present to win.

We are honored to have Dr. Renee Willis as the featured speaker.  Dr. Willis, a Cushing native, continues a legacy of medicine, from her father, Dr. Bassett, and to her daughter that is currently in medical school.  Many citizens in the area speak of Dr. Willis accompanying her father, Dr. Bassett, as he made hospital rounds at the Cushing Hospital. Dr. Bassett was the original owner of Medical Associates of Cushing.  Dr. Willis is a surgeon that currently practices medicine in Stillwater.  Several ladies in Cushing have been patients of Dr. Willis.  They felt that she would make a perfect speaker for she has a sound knowledge of medical expertise dealing with breast cancer and a sound knowledge of treating the “whole” person.

The catered luncheon will begin at 11:30 AM on October 20 at the First United Methodist Church in Cushing.  Tickets may be purchased for $25 per ticket beginning September 21.  Of this amount, $10 will be eligible for an income tax deduction on your 2009 taxes.  Tables may be reserved for parties up to 8 guests but not fewer than 6.  Tickets may be purchased from a Breast Cancer Committee Member, or you may call Marian Shiever Gilkerson at 918-225-8125. We are encouraging everyone to wear a hat to add to the festivities of the day.

“As the Luncheon has grown over the years, so has the amount of money in the fund.  Currently, funds are available and we would like encourage people that need them to contact us.  There are criteria that patients need to meet.  The criteria are:
1.    Be between 19 – 64 years of age
2.    Live in the Cushing zip code or have a local physician’s referral
3.    Have no health insurance
4.    Qualify for the Federal poverty level
If you have a question about qualifications, please contact Jennifer Young @ 918-225-8144.  Ms. Young is the liaison between the patient and the Foundation.”