PHOENIX - October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and according to statistics, about one in eight women will develop the cancer in their lifetime.
To help combat the issue and detect it early on, a community organization called Circle The City gave out free mammograms to the Valley's most vulnerable population.
Circle The City helps provide healthcare to men and women experiencing homelessness, and during the women's health event on Oct. 27, those with the organization offered not only mammograms and pap smears, but free makeovers, bras, and food as well.
"Mammograms and pap smears are very, very important," said one person, identified only as ‘Dovey.’ "They are very, very life-saving."
Dovey knows the toll cancer can take on the body: she is a survivor of cervical and uterine cancer. However, she has never had a mammogram, until now.
"I'm 49. I know I’m not getting any younger, so I figured it was time to come get it done," said Dovey. "I was given the opportunity to get it done, so here I am."
Another person at the event is Maryanne. She is in remission from lung cancer.
"The emergency room became my primary care, which is not ideal by any means, and the preventative aspect of this and catching it, it would be almost an insurmountable series of obstacles for me to get to a doctor's appointment," said Maryanne. "This stuff is beyond reach. I’m beyond grateful. Don’t even have words for it."
Officials with Circle The City say they were expecting around 40 people. Instead, they got 100 people to sign up.
"The purpose of the event was to expand that and provide an educational, informational, supportive place where women experiencing homelessness can come and learn about how to take care of their health," said Marty Hames. "It was more than a success than what we expected."
The event also gave the community an oppourtunity to protect their future, with a quick, five-minute appointment. Besides the health screening, a team of beauticians also gave free haircuts and makeovers to all who came. While the team couldn't get to everyone during the event, they are helping those they couldn't get to by making future appointments that will be free.
Organizers say they hope to make this a regular thing, by focusing on different health preventative measures each time.
Circle The City