Event helps in cancer fight

VIENNA- Many people from around the community came out Thursday evening to help raise money to fight breast cancer.

The Camden Clark Foundation’s annual Pink by the Poolside was held, for the second year in a row, at the home of Dr. Abdi and Manijeh Ghodsi along Grand Central Avenue in Vienna.

The cost was $100 per person with all of the proceeds going for free mammograms for area women who are either underinsured or uninsured.

”We are celebrating good breast health in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” said Kim Couch, executive director of the Camden Clark Foundation. ”Dr. Abdi and Manijeh Ghodsi have opened their home to us for the second year.

”Every ticket we sell will equal one free screening mammogram for someone in the area who is underinsured or uninsured.”

Guests got to sample foods from five area caterers, enjoy a variety of beverages and enjoyed time socializing with each other. Singer Laura Evans and Company provided live music.

The Foundation has been able to provide 220 mammograms from the money raised at last year’s event.

This year the goal is to raise $25,000.

”We have some good sponsorships,” Couch said. ”We had a lot that was donated for this event. There is a ton of sweat equity that is poured into this event.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Couch expects that will be one of its busiest months for mammograms provided through this event.

Up until a couple of years ago, the program to provide these free mammograms had been funded through grants, but the funding stopped and organizers worked to come up with something that would raise the money needed.

”Grants come and go,” Couch said. ”We really looked for a project that the community would get behind.

”It was a huge success and everybody seemed to understand that there was a definite gap in the health care continuum. It was important for us to fill it and do it in a fun way that made people want to come out.”

The caterers donated their time and food. Caterers were the Grand Pointe Conference Center, the Blennerhassett Hotel, Valley Catering, the Parkersburg Country Club and DaVinci’s restaurant. The caterers shared their menus with each other so no one made anything similar.

”It is just a fun night,” Couch said.

Manijeh Ghodsi said it was easy for her to open her home for this event. She had a close friend who died very young from breast cancer and she had other friends who have had to deal with breast cancer .

”This is very important to me,” she said. ”If we can help in any way to do fundraising, it is great. Hopefully we can raise enough money to do these mammograms.”

Ashton Bungard of Parkersburg said she came to the event to support the cause.

”I came to support those with breast cancer and to have a good time with friends,” she said.

Ginger McConnell was from a group representing Pickering and Associates.

”It is a great cause,” she said. ”I am a breast cancer survivor so this is near and dear to my heart.

”There are people in this area who really need help.”

McConnell talked about the needs of so many who don’t have the insurance coverage needed to do mammograms.

”There are so many sides and so many ways breast cancer can affect not only the patient, but the family, their friends and their co-workers,” she said. ”I think that the support through events like this, being supportive to cancer patients, means a lot to the people going through it.”

The mammogram program is open to women of all ages who live on both sides of the Ohio River.

Couch said there is a three-stage approach to good breast health: self examinations at home once a month, a clinical exam with a physician once a year and getting a mammogram. Most women are advised to start getting them around age 40, but some have started earlier due to family history or lifestyle, she said.

People are able to call her office to set it up.

”It is you telling me you are uninsured or underinsured,” Couch said.

Sometimes additional follow-up is needed.

”We have raised enough money that we can take care of the whole spectrum of breast health,” Couch said. ”Even if you don’t have a doctor, we have collaborated in the community with so many of our great doctors here.”

Over the last year, Camden Clark Medical Center diagnosed 800 cancers in this area. Most involved lung cancer, but breast cancer was second.

”We are talking a couple hundred,” Couch said of breast cancer cases. ”The sooner you find it, the better the survival rate is.”