On this episode, Desire’e Hardge, VP of Development at Don’t Be a Chump, Check for a Lump, joined us in the podcast studio. She shared founder, Holly Rose’s story with breast cancer and why she was inspired to start the organization. Desire’e also shared the three tiers within the organization: prevention and education, mammogram and diagnostic screening vouchers, and their Phoenix area wig program. Join them for one of their annual events throughout the month of October – www.checkforalump.org.
Desire’e Hardge, VP of Development for Don’t Be a Chump Check for a Lump, joined us in the studio today. She shared that the founder of Don’t Be a Chump, Check for a Lump, Holly Rose, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39. Holly saw a post on Facebook from Feel Your Boobies and decided to do a self breast exam. She found something suspicious that turned out to be stage 3 breast cancer. Holly went through a year of extensive treatments. During that time, she researched and explored what may have caused her cancer, breast health, breast cancer, and ways to prevent breast cancer. She didn’t want anyone else to have the same experience that she did.
Holly founded the organization in 2009. She realized that prevention and education of breast health was not being taught or addressed. Women and men were not provided with the breast education health to lower their risk of developing breast cancer. Instead of simply treating it, Holly wanted to find a way to prevent it.
Desire’e shared her own story of finding a benign lump at the age of 27 years old. She had completed a self breast exam and found a lump. She saw her doctor the next day and went for additional screening. She struggled emotionally for the next 72 hours while waiting to find out if the lump was cancer. Desire’e thought her life was over and thought the worst. At that time, she did not have insurance but Desire’e was fortunate enough to be able to pay for her screening out of pocket. The organization recognizes that access to care is an issue for some individuals.
The organization has three tiers of support/services. The first tier of support is education and prevention. Each year, the organization releases a magazine that is full of prevention tips, testimonials, and pieces from doctors that work in the realm of breast cancer. The organization gives the magazine to doctor’s offices, organizations, corporations, and grocery stories throughout the Phoenix area. The magazine is also available in digit form on the website.
The second tier is the mammogram and diagnostic testing program. Un- and underinsured women and men can submit and online application for consideration for the program. Individuals can go to any Simon Imaging or Solis Mammography facility for screening. If something suspicious is found, the organization will pay for the biopsy, ultrasound, diagnostic testing, and pathology report. If additional resources are needed, Don’t Be a Chump, Check for a Lump has collaborations with other facilities.
The third tier is the wig program. This program has had a profound impact on women. The American Cancer Society conducted a study that showed 86% of women were more confident when wearing a wig to battle and beat breast cancer. Holly wants to make sure that women have that confident. Individual seeking a wig can apply online and must include the report from their doctor. The individual can go to any wig shop and the organization will cover the cost up to $250. This program is not contingent upon insurance.
Desire’e shared that the organization hosts 2 signature events each year- Pink Out 5k, which took place on October 5th and the Wig Out Gala, which will take place on April 5, 2020. During the month of October, the organization has many collaborations with local Phoenix businesses to support the mission of Don’t Be a Chump, Check for a Lump. There are many events happening throughout the year, which can be found on their website as well as their social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. Volunteer opportunities are also available.
Desire’e encourages everyone to be an ambassador for breast health, no matter what organization you may be affiliated with.