Kane County—Almost 12 years to the day, the free mammogram fund Two Women, For Women officially ceased operations Wednesday.
“This is actually very, very good news,” said president Kay Catlin of St. Charles, who co-founded the organization in 1999 with friend Sharon Lough of Campton Hills. “When we started, free mammograms for uninsured and underinsured women were all but non-existent. Now there’s a viable state program—the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program—which, much to our joy, makes our program unnecessary.”
Over time, Two Women, For Women grew from a modest Tri-City program providing free mammograms to women in need to encompass a variety of additional programs, including free pap tests and gynecological exams to well women/menopause consultations for qualified women residing throughout Kane County.
The idea for the fund grew out of Catlin’s own battle with breast cancer that began in 1998 when doctors discovered a small tumor during a routine annual mammogram. Following subsequent surgery, radiation and hormone therapy, Catlin became and remains cancer-free.
“I owe my life to early detection and wanted to pass along the benefits without regard to any barrier whatsoever—including money,” she said. “Fortunately, Sharon agreed to join me in establishing and running the new program.”
During the past 12 years, the women have subsequently provided funding for more than 1,300 free mammograms and breast exams, follow-up extra views and ultrasounds, as well as pap tests, pelvic exams and well-women consultations. Along the way, numerous early-stage cancers were discovered and successfully treated.
“Of course, none of this would have been possible without the cooperation and support of our service providers—Randallwood Radiology, Delnor Hospital, Fox Valley Family Physicians, Provena St. Joseph Hospital, Provena Health Center for Diagnostic Imaging, and Fox Valley VNA. We’d also like to thank the doctors who helped us out when it was necessary: Dr. Ceasar Co, Dr. Charlotte Schuhart and, most recently, Dr. Susan Acuna,” they said.
Kane and Kendall County women, ages 35 to 64, currently in need of breast and cervical cancer screening options are encouraged to contact the local lead agency for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program:
Fox Valley VNA
400 N. Highland Avenue
Aurora, IL 60506
(630) 892-4355, ext. 8535
Additional program information is also available from the Office of Women’s Health—Illinois Department of Public Health in Springfield at 1-888-522-1282.