How to help women in Central Virginia get free, needed mammograms

RICHMOND, Va. – Breast cancer survivors and our own Stephanie Rochon were honored at a Flying Squirrels game on August 31. Stephanie lost her battle to bile duct cancer in 2015.

The organization Reach Out for Life wanted to spread its message at a baseball event, called “Strike Out Breast Cancer.”

The home bases was decorated in honor of "Strike Out Breast Cancer.”

The home bases was decorated in honor of "Strike Out Breast Cancer.”

The grass roots organization provides free mammograms to women in Central Virginia who can't afford it, and they raised hundreds of dollars Wednesday night, for the outreach program.

"Our mission at reach out for life is early detection of breast cancer and that was a cause really dear to Stephanie,” said Norah Lind, Executive Director of Reach Out For Life.

“I think the word is spreading, so our numbers are growing amazingly,” Lind said.

Lind says 400 to 500 women come through the program every year.

News anchor Stephanie Rochon was committed to helping women prevent breast cancer

News anchor Stephanie Rochon was committed to helping women prevent breast cancer

But in the past month, the group has handed out 125 vouchers to women to cover the cost of a mammogram.

"Even people who have insurance sometimes can't afford it,” Lind said. “They're under-insured and will have a high deductible.”

Vernal Branch knows all about the battle for health insurance. Branch is a 21-year breast cancer survivor.

Her three boys were in high school and college when she was diagnosed.

When she thought she had another lump in her breast, Branch couldn't get coverage, because she had a pre-existing condition called breast cancer.

Vernal Branch knows all about the battle for health insurance.

Vernal Branch knows all about the battle for health insurance.

She's even shared her story at the White House before the Affordable Care Act was passed. Now, Branch is using her platform to get other women covered.

"I started working in the community and actually helping women find the resources so they can get their mammograms and get other treatments,” said Branch.

Vernal Branch has become an advocate on the state and national level. She's also on the Board of Directors for Reach Out for Life.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, Cabela’s is hosting a brunch and fashion show to benefit Reach Out for Life. Every penny of the ticket sales will go to Reach Out for Life to help the growing number of women who need free mammograms in our community.

The Pink Runway will feature Cabela’s outdoor adventure fashions modeled by survivors and friends who support early detection of breast cancer. Tracy Sears, a cancer survivor from the WTVR broadcast team, will emcee the event.

Cabela’s own chef will create the brunch dishes.

Open seating is $50 per person for the event. A table for 8 can be reserved for an additional $100 making the total cost for the reserved tables $500 for 8 people. Learn more here.