By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times
Residents in Birmingham and Bessemer’s public housing community will have the opportunity to receive free mammograms thanks to a collaborative health initiative by several area leaders and organizations.
On Wednesday, Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson, Brenda’s Brown Bosom Buddies (BBBB), the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD), Bessemer Housing Authority and three local chapters of The Links, Incorporated announced a partnership to offer free mammograms for local residents.
“We want to bring awareness not only to breast cancer but the importance of having a breast examination and early treatment if it is discovered,” said Tyson.
Tyson and Brenda Phillips-Hong, founder of BBBB also presented a check for $2500 toward breast cancer research to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama.
BBBB is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting people with breast cancer, as well as providing education and promoting early detection of breast cancer in minority, low-income and underserved communities.
“This is Women’s History Month and Commissioner Tyson chose this time and this month to [connect] this program with the three chapters of The Links,” said Hong. “I would like to thank The Links [and others] who are participating… this is so important.”
There will be 145 mammograms given over the next month at least with each of the local chapters of The Links sponsoring the free mammograms.
“We began our work with Mrs. Hong on this initiative in 2017, because of our desire to help underserved, uninsured women of color to be able to obtain mammograms in our community,” said Dr. Monique Witherspoon, president of the Birmingham, AL Chapter of The Links. “This year we are honored to provide 10 mammograms at Brookwood Women’s Diagnostic Center and 10 mammograms divided between St. Vincent’s East and South.
The Tri-County Chapter of The Links will sponsor 100 mammograms and The Magic City Chapter of The Links 25 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham over the next month.
“This will be through our Links in Pink initiative,” said Rhonda Allen, president of the Tri-County chapter. “We have collaborated with Princeton Baptist Medical Centers Mammography Department to provide the screenings. Breast Cancer does not discriminate… our goal is to educate, celebrate and create survivors.”
All of the organizations said they will partner with Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center in Birmingham to get the word out.
“I think it is so important that communities come together, I’ve only been here a short time and . . . it’s exciting to see the communities most vulnerable being protected by community partners at large,” said David Northern, HABD President.
To obtain a free voucher, BHA residents call 205-481-4420 extension 213 and HABD residents call 205-521-0626.