Nonprofit Spotlight: Reach Out for Life – Mammograms for Every Woman


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness

Most of us know someone who has had or is currently fighting breast cancer. While there is much hope for treatment with good outcomes, the reality is that many women without traditional hereditary risk factors are being diagnosed at earlier ages. We are honored to share the story of Claire Sander. She was 40 years old when she received her breast cancer diagnosis.

My Personal Story

I am a wife, mother to Finnegan and Fontaine, a 2x Boston Marathon qualifier, and a survivor of breast cancer. I was 40 years old. I was in great shape. I had just run the Richmond Marathon six months prior and qualified to run in the Boston Marathon. I had two unbelievable, young kids (Finnegan was three and Fontaine had just turned one), a supportive husband, and a life headed in a great direction. And then May 27th came.

Claire Sander: wife, mother to Finnegan and Fontaine, a two-time Boston Marathon Qualifier, and a Cancer Survivor.
Claire Sander: wife, mother to Finnegan and Fontaine, a two-time Boston Marathon Qualifier, and a Cancer Survivor.

I had a mammogram and tests done over the prior couple of weeks and got the call that would change my life forever. I had cancer. My body physically rejected the news as if I was allergic. I could barely stand. I could barely breathe. I didn’t know what to do.

The story ends well for me, but it doesn’t for so many others.

I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction on July 27, 2017.

I didn’t know what to do the morning I received that call, but I do now. I am going to help. I am going to tell my story, and I am going to help by donating 10% of every cleaning job to help generate awareness around early detection and access to screenings for disadvantaged women.

My Mission:

Leverage my journey and story to generate awareness, educate women, and create access to screenings to eradicate breast cancer. I also want to support disadvantaged women that may not have the financial resources or access to health care so they have the same ability to live a healthy life.

My Goals:

  • Educate women on why it’s important to do screenings early
  • Share my story to make a difference
  • Generate funds to donate to this cause
  • Empower previously unemployable individuals with the ability to make income.

Reach Out for Life is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

It works with a network of community partners to perform its mission for early detection. The Mission of Reach Out for Life is that they are committed to the early detection of breast cancer through education and care for the underserved. This mission is pursued through the Free Mammography Outreach Program and the Reach Out Public Awareness program.

Free Mammography Outreach Program: Currently includes partnerships with more than 30 organizations. Clinic and health department partners qualify women financially before providing them with vouchers for Program services. These medical home bases schedule breast imaging procedures that are provided through partnering imaging centers. Because the Program does not discriminate in providing equity of breast health care, it frequently helps women who have been denied services through other programs. The goal is to allow every woman access to all the breast health procedures that her individual situation requires. One voucher covers everything that follows from the annual mammogram, including unilateral and bilateral diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds, MRIs, tomosynthesis, and biopsy. A single voucher also covers follow-up appointments.

When there is a cancer diagnosis, the patients are supported through the process of treatment and, if necessary, surgery. Participating imaging partners are reimbursed by Reach Out for Life, the Program administrator, at an agreed upon rate.

Reach Out Public Awareness Campaign: Because the populations served are vulnerable, Reach Out for Life continually works to spread information about the need for annual mammograms for early detection. Representatives of Reach Out for Life frequently attend health fairs and public events to establish a presence in the community. They are available to speak to organizations when requested.