Pink Ribbon Project combats cancer

Sarah Baldwin

According to the Pink Ribbon Project, breast and cervical cancer are among the leading causes of death in women between the ages of 35 to 54.

Thus, getting screened for breast and cervical cancer is usually recommended as something that women should do once they turn 40. And while the procedures may not be comfortable, many women do follow this healthy advice and get screened. Unless they don’t have the money to pay for it.

However, the Pink Ribbon Project, based out of the Summit County Combined General Health District, is striving to remedy that problem.

Linda Berger, Pink Ribbon Project Coordinator, said the project began in 1994, headed by the Akron Health Department.

The Pink Ribbon Project is run by Berger, Lori Partin, who serves as the project case manager and handles billing issues, and Tyronna Young, who works as the clerk for the project.

The Pink Ribbon Project serves women in Portage, Stark, Wayne and Summit counties.

The Pink Ribbon Project is aimed at women who are between the ages of 40 and 64 and don’t receive Medicaid. To be qualified for this program an applicant cannot have health insurance. If an applicant has health insurance, it must have a high deductible or not pay for breast exams, Berger said. The Pink Ribbon Project targets women at the 200 percent poverty level, which means they make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but still are considered low-income.

“We help the working poor,” said Berger.

There are 3,200 women currently registered on the Pink Ribbon Project’s database, and in some cases, cancer has been found because of the screenings. However, the women are not left hanging if there are abnormal results. If there’s cancer, it’s then referred to Medicaid.

However, it wasn’t always that way. In earlier phases of the program, if cancer was found, the afflicted person was left dealing with the disease without any further help, Berger said.

Berger encourages students to think of their mothers and other older women in their lives and tell them about the Pink Ribbon Project, even if the students do not meet the criteria for the program themselves.

“We try to put the word out,” Berger said.

Partin herself is a breast cancer survivor and particularly feels the need to make sure all women get screened.

Contact public affairs reporter Sarah Baldwin at [email protected].