Assistance from the Joy to Life Foundation allows ADPH to provide free cancer screenings for underserved women

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – In response to a need for increased funding in north Alabama, the Joy to Life Foundation has offered to expand its efforts and provide funds statewide for breast cancer screenings for women through the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (ABCCEDP). Previously, the foundation’s funding to ABCCEDP was limited to south Alabama.

Funding is needed for services in north Alabama as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Inc., North Central Alabama Affiliate, ceased operations as an independent affiliate on April 24, 2020. Before its relocation, it served Alabama’s northern counties.

“We are very appreciative of our longstanding partnership with the Joy to Life Foundation and to its co-founders Joy and Richard Blondheim,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. “Early detection of breast cancer through regular screening saves lives. The foundation’s commitment to helping underserved women receive cancer screenings has saved more than 125 lives over the past 17 years. By expanding its coverage statewide, they will help us ensure as many women as possible receive life-saving cancer screenings.”

The ABCCEDP provides free mammograms, Pap/HPV testing, and if needed, diagnostic testing to women who have no insurance, have an income at or below 250 percent of the poverty level and are age 40-64. If there is a diagnosis of cancer, most women are eligible to receive treatment through the Alabama Medicaid Agency.

Each year hundreds of medically underserved women are diagnosed with breast and cervical cancer through the Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (ABCCEDP), and nearly 3,000 women have been diagnosed since this program began in 1996.

According to the Blondheims, the Joy to Life Foundation feels the need and responsibility to support ABCCEDP in filling this financial gap, so that mammograms and other breast screenings can continue to be provided without interruption in the northern counties for the medically underserved.

“As the Joy to Life Foundation has done for 20 years, we will continue to work tirelessly every single day to provide the lifesaving screenings that every woman in Alabama needs and deserves,” stated Joy Blondheim. In addition to providing funds to ABCCEDP, the foundation also assists women under age 40 years of age who are at high risk or have symptoms of breast cancer.

Women are urged to get cancer screenings in order to find cancer in its earliest stages, when it is easier to treat and leads to better outcomes. During the COVID pandemic, cancer screening continues to be essential. If you are having any breast or cervical problems, it is very important that you do not delay seeking care. Call your local county health department or the ABCCEDP hotline at 1-877-252-3324 to schedule an appointment. COVID-19 should not prevent you from getting the medical care you need.

Joy and Richard Blondheim of Montgomery founded Joy to Life in 2001. Mrs. Blondheim is a breast cancer survivor and the Blondheims have dedicated their time and efforts to women who are fighting to win the battle against breast cancer. After extensive research, the Blondheims formed a partnership with ABCCEDP to provide mammograms to women who do not have private insurance and cannot afford mammograms.

To find out whether you, a family member or friend qualify for ABCCEDP, call 1-877-252-3324 toll free.