Pratt Donates $1,500 for Breast Cancer Screenings

Donating a check to Calais Regional Hospital for $1,500 to enable four area women to receive free breast cancer screenings is Ian Pratt. Pratt is raising additional funds for the cause through a special promotion at the dealership where all photos taken and posted with the hashtag #idrivefor will yield a direct donation from Chevrolet to the American Cancer Society and a donation from Pratt to the hospital to enable more screenings. Left to right are Kristy Calder, RT, Director of Radiology; Billie-Jo Ham, RT; Carla Jundt, RT and Ian Pratt. (Submitted photo)

By Lura Jackson

 

With the oldest population in the nation, it follows that Maine also has among the highest cancer rates in the country. In fact, according to the 2015 Maine Annual Cancer Report, Maine has a cancer incident rate of 475, compared with 439 for the rest of the country. The key component to surviving most cancers – including breast cancer – is early detection. With that in mind, Ian Pratt has been working to raise awareness and funds for early detection, including making a donation on Monday, October 15th to Calais Regional Hospital to enable free breast cancer screenings for eligible community members. 

The $1,500 donation will enable four women over 40 years old who are either underinsured or uninsured and who have not had a mammogram in the past 12 months to receive a free screening, following a referral from their primary care provider. In addition, Pratt is actively encouraging everyone to come by the dealership and have their photo taken. Everyone who does so will prompt a $5 donation from Chevrolet to the American Cancer Society and a matching $5 donation from Pratt’s to Calais Regional Hospital expressly for the purpose of offering additional free screenings. Pratt has also expressed that he will match any outright donations coming in from the community for the cause.

“Early detection can save lives, and I don’t want anyone to not know about their options,” Pratt said. “So many people could be saved and I want to do my small part to raise awareness and money for this lifesaving cause.”

While Pratt’s has been participating in Chevrolet and General Motors’ efforts to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and screening for the past seven years, this is the first time that the dealership has opted to work with Calais Regional Hospital to offer screenings for local women. “We are proud to partner with our local hospital this year to reach even more people,” Pratt said. 

“The number of people being diagnosed with breast cancer is increasing, but with early detection the survival rates are high,” commented Kristy Calder, Director of Radiology at Calais Regional Hospital. Calder explained that the greatest risk factor for individuals being afflicted by breast cancer – aside from being female – is age. Women who have had a relative with breast cancer are also more likely to develop it themselves. 

According to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are some steps that women can take to minimize their risk for developing breast cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight, particularly after menopause, is considered to be beneficial, as is avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol and limiting estrogen supplements.

Early detection has been repeatedly proven to be critical in improving the survival rates of those afflicted by breast cancer. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides that in cases where the cancer is detected early on in the development of the cancer, the woman has a 95 percent survival rate for the next five years. In those cases where the cancer has progressed to a later stage, the survival rate drops to just 26 percent. Learning how to do self-examinations and conducting them regularly is a key component for all women who are at risk of breast cancer.

To participate in Pratt and Chevrolet’s efforts to raise money for breast cancer detection – an effort that has raised $7.7 million nationally since 2011 – stop by Pratt’s dealership to take a photo, or upload a photo to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #idrivefor.