The combined efforts of the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association, First Niagara Financial Group and Erie County Medical Center will save the lives of women in Western New York for many years to come. The partners unveiled a state-of-the-art bus that holds two digital mammography machines that will travel to underserved and under-tested women in this area.
With a combined contribution of $750,000 from the three groups the bus will be managed by Western New York Breast Health, the practice of Dr. Vivian Lindfield.
Buffalo Sabres Alumni Relations Director Larry Playfair explained how over the years the Sabre’s wives have been holding their wine tasting event and the proceeds were going back into the community. Jody Lomeo, ECMC CEO and foundation board member, went to the Sabres and before they could finish their presentation they alumni said “yes.”
What began as a couple of vans traveling into the hardship areas and transporting the women to a mammography screening, became a bus that would go into the community and allow the women to be tested in their own driveway. The bus will also be parked at festivals, health fairs, churches and community centers where the staff of Dr. Lindfield’s practice will conduct the screenings and the women will then be advised on where to go for treatment, if needed.
“Mammograms can save lives,” said Dr. Lindfield. “Finding the disease early is the key. Now I can go to a patient in their own backyard, talk to them and get them to the right care.”
“I want to thank the alumni wives,” said Lameo. “It was their vision and it’s about the patients that wouldn’t have been served.”
“There’s a WOW factor here,” said John Koelmel, president and CEO of First Niagara. “What better way to provide this care than by saying ‘You can’t get to us?’ ‘Then we’ll come to you.”
There are several such buses in various regions of the country. A program in West Virginia, which has the fifth-highest morality rate from breast cancer nationally, reached 400 women in 2009 and 1,520 last year. The WNY bus is expected to test more than 1,500 in the first year.
“We’ve had a number of player wives, daughters, sisters and mothers affected by breast cancer,” said Playfair. “This is such a useful and meaningful addition to the tools the region brings to bear to help thwart this disease. We are commtted to this project and will stay involved with its growth.”
For information on the bus call 1-855-Go4-PINK (1-855-464-7465.