Bellin, foundations offer free cancer screenings for women

09/11/2007

GREEN BAY — An estimated 1.4 million people nationwide will be diagnosed with cancer by the end of 2007, according to the American Cancer Society. Approximately 1,500 people per day will die. The Boland family of Green Bay and former television journalist Marti Spittell Ziegelbauer are working to significantly reduce those numbers.

The Boland’s Great Lakes Run Foundation and the Marti Spittell Foundation for Reproductive Health have made it their goal to educate women about cancer. Each founder started their foundation after experiencing a personal, successful battle with cancer.

The foundations offer women free mammograms and Pap smears to help prevent cancer and detect it early enough to be better able to treat it successfully. Qualifying women must be: Brown County residents; between the ages of 18 and 44; without health insurance, or unable to pay the deductible or co-payments.

The screenings are done at any Bellin Health partner, primary care provider or OB-GYN clinic. Included in the free mammogram is an R2 checker system for reading the exam, the radiologist’s fee and an ultrasound, if necessary. Included in the free reproductive cancer screening is a health assessment, pelvic exam and Pap test, breast exam, reproductive health care evaluation and an HPV screening and vaccine.

John and Ann Boland created the Great Lakes Run Foundation in 2003 after Ann’s successful fight against breast cancer. The Bolands wanted to make sure that uninsured and lower-income women across Northeast Wisconsin had access to breast cancer screenings and other preventative measures.

“We had accessibility to medical care and were able to keep our mother,” said daughter Addie Boland, foundation communications director. “Why should other families not get to keep their mothers simply because of insurance matters or an inability to afford care? We just didn’t want someone who needed a mammogram to be in a position where they were unable to get one.”

Spittell Ziegelbauer survived cervical cancer after being diagnosed with the disease in 1998. She and husband Gary created the Marti Spittell Ziegelbauer Foundation for Reproductive Health after her bout with cancer to raise awareness of the need for regular testing to prevent or detect cervical cancer.

“Our ultimate goal is to not have to provide all this care because we would have eradicated these diseases,” she said. “We’re doing our best to get us to that point, but in the meantime, you really need to get these screenings.”

For more information on screenings, call Bellin’s Her Health Hot Line at (920) 433-7494.