Eugene (KMTR) - Sunday is the big day. The second annual Eugene Race for the Cure will take place at Autzen Stadium.
Another big turnout is expected as thousands race to raise money for Komen Oregon, which is at work right now in our local communities.
Komen helps women who cannot afford mammograms to get the life-saving screenings. It’s also behind several programs that support cancer survivors as they make their way through treatment.
Komen Oregon was instrumental is creating Oregon’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, which helps low-income women who are diagnosed to get access to treatment, even if they can't afford it.
That program helped Julie Steele. Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year after finding a lump during a self-exam. Julie is just 38 years old and she had no family history of the disease.
She underwent surgery and chemo and even shaved her own head when she started to lose her hair. But she says she had a lot of support to get through her fight and the state's Breast and Cervical Cancer Program helped easy the financial burden.
She says she had a lot to worry about: “’How is this going to work? What am I going to do? How am I going to survive?’ and all that. And [how to pay for it] was one less thing that wasn't even on my plate. I didn't even have to worry about it. I didn't have to be concerned about it, I didn't have to ask any questions. It was just done.”
Dr. Winnie Henderson is the surgeon who removed Julie’s tumor. She says its very common for younger women with no history of the disease to get it. And she says that why self exams are so important for women and for men: “For men to check their breast which is just feeling their chest wall. A breast exam is actually very simple. You can do it any time you're in the shower or just lying in bed. It's pretty simple. Just be aware.”
Earlier this year, Governor John Kitzhaber signed Oregon Senate Bill 433 into law. It closed a loophole in the state’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. It means that low-income women in Oregon who are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer will have access to life-saving treatment, even if they were diagnosed by a physician outside of the state's program. Supporters of the bill say women should not be penalized for receiving a diagnosis outside of a particular program.The important thing is that they get the treatment they need.