Our Care Lives Here: Cancer Community Outreach and Foundation Support

Cancer’s impact is not confined to hospital walls. It’s witnessed in the countless stories of courage and determination woven throughout our community. So that’s where our outreach efforts take us as we bring prevention, hope, inspiration, and support to people when and where they need it. Our efforts were more important than ever in 2021 as we helped our community get back on track with preventive health care routines following challenges caused by COVID-19.

Combined Force Against Female Cancers

Premier Health’s four hospital foundations work together to create greater impact than any one foundation could alone, according to Jenny Lewis, Premier Health system vice president of philanthropy. This is especially true when it comes to early diagnosis of female cancers. Through collaboration with each other and generous community supporters, Premier Health’s foundations are helping bring Southwest Ohio women increasing access to critical preventive care.

Deirdra Williams benefitted from two of these efforts. After three years of putting off her mammogram, due to a job change and finding herself uninsured, she finally made the appointment. She was relieved to discover the Breast and Cervical Cancer Project would cover the cost. She conveniently scheduled her screening through Premier Health’s community-funded mobile mammography coach. It was a good thing she did. Deirdra was diagnosed with stage zero breast cancer and benefitted from early detection and treatment. Read more about Deirdra’s story.

The Breast and Cervical Cancer Project(BCCP) removes barriers to wellness for women through free cancer screenings and diagnostics. Funded by a grant from the Ohio Department of Health and administered in Southwest Ohio by Premier Community Health, BCCP provided 1,070 free breast and cervical cancer screenings for eligible women in a 16-county region during the 2020-21 grant year. An additional 75 screening services for women who fell outside BCCP eligibility were covered by Premier Community Health’s voucher program, funded in part by Premier Health foundations.

Premier Health’s mobile mammography coach made screening access easier for 2,064 women in 2021 and helped detect 11 cases of breast cancer. The coach attended 216 events in a 10-county area, parking at businesses, physician offices, schools, senior centers, YMCAs, churches, fire stations, and community buildings.

Generous foundation donors, as well as the Gala of Hope Foundation, have helped fund the coach. A collaboration with the Norma J. Ross Memorial Foundation and Bob Ross Buick provides convenient access to the mobile coach for Centerville residents. The Ross Foundation also supports BCCP by advocating for early detection of breast cancer and referring women with income or insurance barriers.

Brake For Breakfast And Breast Cancer Awareness

Premier Health’s annual Brake for Breakfast continued this year as a driving force in breast cancer awareness. The drive-through October events in Englewood, Piqua, Middletown, and Centerville provided broad community reach. Motorists received free breakfast bags and helpful breast health information that included the importance of early detection and annual mammograms for women over 40.

Pink Ribbon Girls

Premier Health continued its support this year of Pink Ribbon Girls, an all-volunteer group that provides healthy meals, rides to treatment, housecleaning, and peer support to patients with breast and gynecological cancers. Support included hosting the annual pink fire truck visits to all facilities, as well as fund raisers. Premier Health’s Mikki Clancy, chief digital officer, serves as chair of the Pink Ribbon Girls Board.

American Cancer Society Community Partnerships

We continue to strengthen our longtime partnership with the American Cancer Society. We’re helping increase awareness, engage community leaders, and expand access directly and indirectly for our patients with these activities.

  • Premier Health increased its support of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Dayton this year as a lead sponsor. Marquita Turner, chief operating officer of Miami Valley Hospital South, served as executive chair for the Oct. 16 event held at Island MetroPark. Three national live virtual options also were offered. Eight teams and 102 participants from Premier Health came out to show support, raising $3,990. Premier Health also sold more than 1,000 Making Strides T-shirts.
  • For the second year in a row, Premier Health’s Mikki Clancy led the Real Men Wear Pink of Greater Dayton October campaign. The effort enlists the leadership and influence of distinguished men from the community to raise funds and draw attention to the fight against breast cancer. These campaign ambassadors raised $49,267 through individual fundraisers. Six were from Premier Health, and they raised $14,302.
  • A recently awarded $15,000 transportation grant from the American Cancer Society (ACS) is helping patients more easily access cancer care at Premier Health. Transportation is the third most-commonly cited barrier to accessing health services for older adults, according to the ACS. The grant was distributed across Premier Health’s four foundations in September to help alleviate the financial burden of patient transportation costs. Based on individual needs, patients receive assistance in the form of gas cards, cab rides, ride share services, or public transportation passes.
  • Premier Health provided sponsorships and teams for two Relay for Life events in Miami and Butler counties.

Skin Cancer Screenings

Community skin cancer screenings returned in 2021 to boost access in Southwest Ohio to this important tool in early detection. Two events, hosted by Atrium Medical Center and Miami Valley Hospital, provided screenings to nearly 90 attendees, 11 of whom were recommended for biopsy.

National Cancer Survivors Month Events

Our sixth annual Portraits of Hope celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day took place at Miami Valley South on Sunday, June 6. Forty families took advantage of the event’s free portrait sessions for cancer patients, survivors, and their families, provided by Premier Health and Laveck Photography. Good weather enabled this socially distanced event to take place outdoors for some stunning photos!

Premier Health hosted a June 29 webinar, Intimacy and Cancer Survivorship, in recognition of National Cancer Survivors Month. The free, interactive webinar offered discussion surrounding intimacy and sexual health post cancer treatment, including physical and psychological effects on sexuality that can occur from physical changes and body image disruption.

Once again this year, we created a beautiful Tree of Life mosaic using submitted photos of cancer survivors, caregivers, and cancer care providers. The unique piece of art was shared via social media and is available for download on the Premier Health website.

Leukemia And Lymphoma Society

Premier Health continued its partnership with the Dayton chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) by sponsoring Light the Night, held virtually again this year Sept. 30. With more than 500 participants, the event raised $306,200. Our social workers and nurse navigators continue to work closely with LLS, sharing with our blood cancer patients and families the many ways LLS can support them.

Donor Impact And Patient Support

Community contributions to Premier Health hospital foundations help provide patient support in areas beyond treatment and screenings, including lymphedema garments and integrative therapies (i.e., massage, yoga, healing touch, acupuncture, therapeutic art). Integrative therapy programs are designed specifically for cancer patients and are taught by trained instructors to enhance the health and well-being of patients throughout treatment and recovery.

The Norma J. Ross Foundation continued its collaboration with Premier Health this year by making significant gifts in support of our oncology staff.

Donate and learn more about Premier Health hospital foundations.