BV woman promotes impact of Susan G. Komen Ozark

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

While not everyone may realize the local impact of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, for Marie Medina of Berryville, it is a personal matter.

Medina, a mother of two teenagers and two adult children, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer on July 15, 2015. After receiving crucial health and financial support from the Komen Ozark Affiliate in Springdale, she chose to share her story on the Komen Ozark blog,, to show how big a difference the Race for the Cure makes in the lives of those battling breast cancer.

“In December 2015, I found a lump in my left breast. I was without health insurance,” Medina says in the blogpost. “I applied for Medicaid but was told that I didn’t qualify because I earned $1,600 per month (before taxes) as a cook and my husband was receiving Social Security disability. I felt like I had no options. I ignored the mass for six months.”

She continues, “Finally, I told my mom about the lump. She called around and found out about Arkansas BreastCare. She encouraged me to go to the local health unit to see if I would qualify. I had absolutely no idea that BreastCare or Komen Ozark funding existed.”

In the post, Medina says she was referred for a mammogram in Fayetteville and was diagnosed on July 15, 2015, with stage 2 breast cancer after a biopsy. Through genetic testing funded by a Komen Ozark grant, she says she also learned that she carries the BRCA1 gene mutation, which is linked to breast cancer risk.

Not long after her diagnosis, Medina says she received a phone call from Melloni Autry, a nurse navigator funded by Komen Ozark. Autry visited her in her home and gave her a great deal of information and a care package to prepare her for surgery, which was scheduled for the following week, Medina says.

“I haven’t been able to work following surgery and chemotherapy. I was hospitalized for a week due to low blood counts and infections,” she says in the post. “I had to have the tissue expanders taken out because my infection would not heal due to the chemotherapy. It has been a long road to recovery.”

What has helped pave that road, she says, is the support of Komen Ozark.

“If I have a need, they will help find a resource to assist me. They go above and beyond to help me,” Medina says in her story. “I am very grateful for the Susan G. Komen Ozark Affiliate because, without their help, I might not be here today.”

Holly Gillies of the North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education (NAPHE) in Harrison said the money raised by the $25 race fee for the Race for the Cure in Rogers directly supports the Komen Ozark Affiliate and grants them funding each year to support Carroll, Boone and Newton counties.

“With the grant we just received for 2017-18, they have granted our communities $1,026,000 over the last eleven years through the CHRC [Community Health Resource Center] grants,” Gillies said.

Over the last 10 years, she said the CHRC breast health services have funded a total of 1,150 mammograms, 416 breast ultrasounds, 112 breast biopsies and provided 1,211 mobile unit mammograms in Carroll, Boone and Newton counties. The services have also detected 33 cases of cancer, she said.

Gillies said the 2017 Race for the Cure will take place on Saturday, April 22, at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers. To sign up for the race or donate, visit KomenOzark. org. For more information on Komen Ozark, visit

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