Promise Fund of Florida Aims to Help Women in Need
MIAMI – Nancy Brinker is on mission again.
The founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization named after her sister who died of breast cancer in 1980, started the Promise Fund of Florida.
The organization aims to directly help women in need in Florida.
“She was 33 when she was diagnosed with the disease,” Brinker said. “Right before she died, and she asked me to cure the disease, she also said -” and I want to make sure everyone has a chance to be treated the way I have been. “
But some studies, like that of the Commonwealth Fund, show Florida to be at the bottom of the list when it comes to access to health care.
The Promise Fund cites research that shows Hispanic women are more often diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, and according to the National Cancer Institute, black women are still more likely than other groups to die from the disease.
Liliana Herrera, a Palm Beach County resident, said when she was diagnosed with cancer a second time, she had no health insurance but was earning too much money to qualify for help.
Herrera said she quit her job and lived in a friend’s auto repair garage to qualify for medical help.
“It was the only solution I could find,” she said. “Also, I didn’t have anyone to guide me through the process of making all the different decisions.”
Today, Herrera is a Navigator with the Promise Fund, helping women not only get their screenings, but get to the appointments and treatments they need.
Brinker said the Promise Fund is also working with the Miami Cancer Institute of Baptist Health to start a clinical trial. The trial will help women get imaging, possible surgery if needed, and a new type of radiation that doesn’t take as long as other types of radiation.
The trial is a team effort, led by Dr Jessika Contreras, radiation oncologist, Dr Minesh Mehta and Dr Marcio Fagundes.
“This means that we can test, evaluate, test and prove that these shorter courses are deliverable, more achievable and make care more accessible to patients on an accelerated basis,” said Dr Fagundes.
Brinker hopes the model of the Promise Fund’s work in South Florida will be replicated in other communities. She said it was part of her mission to keep her promise to her sister.
“I have to believe she would have been very happy,” she said. “I think she would say, keep going, go ahead. You know, I dedicated the last quarter of my life – I hope I have that many years left – to watch this happen. For her.”
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