Grant to provide cancer screenings for uninsured, underinsured

SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Memorial Hospital Foundation announced Wednesday that it received a $50,000 grant that will help provide cancer screenings and diagnostic tests for patients who don’t have insurance or are underinsured.

The announcement was made at the hospital’s monthly board meeting.

“It’s really exciting today to announce the culmination of conversations with the Whedon board that we could come to an agreement and a partnership to provide cancer screening and diagnostic tests for people in our community and the region,” Foundation Executive Director Ada Kirven said. “We’ve worked with them for many years on various cancer projects, and this really gets to the heart of the Whedon Cancer Foundation’s focus, and that is detection and screening, so we’re just happy to be able to be a part of that with them.”

Whedon Cancer Detection Foundation Program Coordinator Terry Henn and board members Holland Duell and Kay Wallick were at the meeting for the announcement. Chairman Dr. Howard Mussell was unable to attend.

“We look forward to a long partnership with Ada, and her staff, and the hospital and the residents of Sheridan,” Wallick said.

The Foundation has set up a system to work with physicians to identify patients who could benefit from financial assistance for cancer screening.

“We already try to help all individuals that come to Sheridan Memorial Hospital to get their care, but this will give us another resource to offer to people who don’t have funding to pay for those screening tests,” Kirven said.

Previous funds from the Whedon Foundation were used to purchase mammography equipment and offer assistance to patients in need of mammography. This new grant will help with screening tests for a variety of cancers including skin, breast, colon, prostate, cervical and more.

Kirven said Wyoming typically has a lower cancer screening rate than the rest of the nation. This could be due to its rural nature and lack of access, the expense of tests, or simply waiting to go to the doctor until one is noticeably sick. She hopes the grant from the Whedon Foundation will provide one more layer of incentive to area residents to get screened.

“The end result is early detection,” Kirven said. “When you find your cancer, the sooner you find it, the better the treatment.”

A portion of the grant funds will be used to educate the community about the importance of early detection.

The Whedon Cancer Detection Foundation was established nearly 60 years ago by Dr. Earl and Bessie Whedon, who lost their son to cancer. It is active in Sheridan and Johnson counties.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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