Bristol Firefighters Local 773 donated $4,000 to Bristol Hospital’s Beekley Center Monday, funding which will be used to provide breast cancer screenings to women who would otherwise be unable to afford it.
Chris Hayden was among the group of firefighters that went to Bristol Hospital Monday to present the check. He said that Bristol Firefighters Local 773 had raised the money during a month-long fundraiser in October.
“We sold at least 8,000 cancer awareness T-shirts so I’d say it was pretty successful,” said Hayden. “We’ve held this T-shirt fundraiser in the past, but this was the first year that it benefitted the Beekley Center.”
Mary Lynn Gagnon, executive director of the Bristol Hospital Development Foundation said it was “amazing” what the fire union was able to achieve.
“The funds will help women who don’t have insurance or whose insurance doesn’t cover free mammograms to get mammograms,” she said.
Kathy Albano, breast health navigator and Dr. Sai Varanasi, medical director of the breast center at Bristol Hospital, also thanked the fire union for their efforts.
“I want to personally thank all of you,” said Albano. “I can’t tell you how much this means to us. We are floored by this huge amount of money which will be a huge help in our efforts to ensure that women get screened.”
Haden said that the fire union would try to make an even bigger donation to Bristol Hospital’s Beekley Center next year.
“The pressure’s on,” he said.
Varanasi encouraged the firefighters to make sure that their loved ones all got breast exams.
Albano also mentioned that the center was celebrating its five-year anniversary this year.
“The center was designed with a spa-like feel that makes getting screenings a comfortable experience for women,” she said. “We offer services from screenings to surgery. Then, once women have their surgery, we help them transition to our cancer care center and get consultation for radiation therapy.”
Albano explained that, in her role as a navigator, she helped guide patients through the complex process of getting care. She said that when patients call her, she always tries to return their calls the same day.
“That’s excellent,” said firefighter Max Corvo. “I’m sure it is very helpful for women who are going through an otherwise uncomfortable experience.”
Corvo also discussed the possibility of partnering with Bristol Hospital’s Beekley Center for other future fundraisers.
“How about a pink fire truck?” joked Albano, who then said that she would keep in touch with the fire union.