Pink ribbons to grace Mercy Hospital throughout October

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Breast cancer awareness fundraiser benefits locals

During National Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, pink becomes a more common color, and more pink will grace the Mercy Hospital in Cassville, as it is selling pink ribbons for $1 each, with proceeds benefitting the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks.

Stephanie Clymer, supply chain tech at the hospital and member of the Mercy Service Team, is spearheading the fundraiser for the second consecutive year, hoping to raise at least $200 in donations. When the hospital dropped its Relay for Life team, Clymer said the ribbon fundraiser was a way for it to continue contributing to the cause.

"We have designated people to purchase the ribbons from, and we sell them at the gift shop," she said. "And, If someone does not want to buy a ribbon, they can just donate."

Clymer said the Mercy Service Team chose to donate to the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks because it keeps the money local.

"They see people from Cassville and from Lawrence County, and they help pay for things like mammograms that aren't covered by insurance or that the patient can't afford," she said. "They can also call the Foundation and someone will be there immediately to help them."

The Springfield-based foundation serves 30 counties in southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas, northwest Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma, offering financial assistance, free mammogram screening programs, a children's fund and support groups.

"They will help people pay their utility bills and other expenses while they are dealing with treatments," Clymer said. "Last year, we raised $200 for them on our own, and the hospital matched it so, we donated $400."

Clymer said this year's goal is at least $200, but a match from the hospital again is not likely.

Clymer said the fundraiser is very close to her heart, as she had an aunt who died of breast cancer in 1996.

"My aunt always said, 'If you want something really bad, never give up until you win the battle,'" she said. "Now, every time I sell a ribbon, I think about her."

Wanda Long, financial counselor at Mercy Hospital, said the disease also hits the hospital staff on occasion, including being diagnosed herself.

"We've had several co-workers come up with some type of cancer, and when it's your family or friends or co-workers, it becomes a lot more personal and more real," she said. "We also see a lot more of it every day because we work at the hospital."

Along with selling ribbons, the hospital is also collecting aluminum cans to be recycled, with proceeds benefitting the Mercy Service Team, which helps patients with monetary needs.

For more information about the hospital fundraiser, people may call 417-847-6000. For more information about the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks, people may call 417-862-3838, or visit www.bcfo.org.

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