"Itâ??s terrifying to be diagnosed with breast cancer, but to be underinsured or uninsured and have to worry about the financial burden of treatment you have to have to survive, is even more terrifying," said Fred Benzie, Health Officer at the Marquette County Health Department.
Now those at the end of their financial limits may have some fears eased thanks to a $28,000 grant. Superior Health Foundation Executive Director Jim LaJoie announced a U.P. Breast Health Fund that will help patients with out of pocket expenses starting January 2.
"Will help with mammograms, it'll help with testing," said Jim LaJoie, listing examples. "It'll help with all of those pieces, that when you go through the health process, that insurance may not cover or they're lacking insurance."
The maximum amount given will be $1,000. An eight-person committee consisting of health department coordinators, the SHF Executive director and the SHF Community Needs and Grants Committee will decipher who receives money and how much.
"We understand that itâ??s not going to pay all the bills, but it'll help," LaJoie said.
The money was raised during the 31 Days of Pink, a partnership between Superior Health Foundation and Marquette Area Public Schools (MAPS). SHF expects the funding, distributed on a first come, first serve basis, will run out by spring. However, they hope that will bring attention to the need in Upper Michigan, get more schools involved, and raise more money in the years to come.
To be eligible, applicants must be 35 to 64 years of age, fall within the national poverty guidelines and be underinsured or uninsured. Applications will be posted on each of the health department websites along with the superior health foundation website.