Carol Embery is one of many local women who has benefited directly from community efforts to fight against breast cancer.
Embery, a Brunswick resident, received her breast cancer diagnosis and then underwent a surgery she could not afford on her own.
“I’d come to get checked, and I didn’t know what I was going to do because at that time I was flat broke,” she said.
Thanks to a grant provided through the Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia organization, Embery received financial assistance to help cover her surgery bill.
Embery shared her story at the annual Coastal Georgia “On Par” to Cure Breast Cancer golf tournament, held in March. The event raises money each year for Komen Coastal Georgia, a nonprofit based in Savannah that aims to save women’s live by helping them detect breast cancer early.
Embery returned for the check presentation Friday at the Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital, where organizers of the golf tournament presented Komen officials with a $20,650 ceremonial check.
“Once again, we’ve increased our proceeds over the previous year, thanks to all the great individuals who are on our committee and those who participate and all of of the businesses that support us too in the area,” said Carol Sabo, co-chair of the golf tournament.
The money raised by the tournament and donated to Komen Coastal Georgia will return to the community in the form of a grant for the Southeast Georgia Health System’s mobile mammography unit.
The Wellness on Wheels (WOW) mobile health unit has been in service since 2006. The unit participates in health promotion and wellness events and provides about 900 screening mammograms each year.
The unit has played a crucial role in the community, said DelRia Baisden, vice president of the Southeast Georgia Health System.
“By utilizing the WOW to bring screening mammography services and health education to more rural areas of our community, we help remove transportation and access as barriers to health care,” Baisden said. “Additionally, grant funding from Komen Coastal Georgia and the Health System’s Foundation pays for breast health services so that eligible patients have no out of pocket costs for care.”
Fundraising events like the On Par golf tournament provide major financial support to Komen Coastal Georgia’s direct patient care grant programs, she said.
“Combined with other proceeds, their donation helped fund a $50,000 grant to Southeast Georgia Health System’s Mammograms in Motion program during the 2019/2020 grant cycle,” Baisden said.
Komen Coastal Georgia funds six organizations, and in April the nonprofit gave out nearly $260,000 in grants.
“Programs like this, this golf tournament, that raise money for us really helps us to be able to grant out more every year,” said Julie Schwartz, community engagement manager for Komen Coastal Georgia. “The goal is to grant out more year after year after year.”
Evie Keim, a member of the fundraising event’s organizing committee, said the tournament’s organizers put in the work each year in order to directly benefit the women in this area who need these health care services.
Embery encouraged local women to take advantage of this support.
“They don’t need to be embarrassed,” she said. “They really need to make sure they get their mammograms.”