MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bonnie’s Bus, the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center’s mobile mammography unit, is making a significant impact on the health of women in West Virginia, but the financial challenges of keeping the 40-foot long vehicle on the road 10 months out of the year are great.
A new campaign called Sponsor A Day on Bonnie’s Bus is designed to cover those expenses, while raising awareness about the breast cancer screenings it provides.
Since the program began in 2009, Bonnie’s Bus has provided more than 6,300 breast cancer screening mammograms in 43 of the state’s 55 counties. Of the counties where these services were provided, 11 did not have a mammography facility, emphasizing the need for a mobile unit to visit rural communities. To date, 20 women who were initially screened on the Bus were later diagnosed with breast cancer.
The Bus serves women who have private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and uninsured women who are participants in the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program.
Mammograms are provided for women without coverage with funding from grants and donations, so that no woman over the age of 40 is ever turned away. Women whose mammograms suggest a need for further diagnosis and treatment are referred back to local providers for their care.
The limited revenues Bonnie’s Bus receives from billing fall short of the $250,000 needed annually to advance the mission of the Bus. After revenues are received, the net average cost of a screening day is about $2,000. Expenses include mammography equipment maintenance, bus and generator maintenance, medical supplies, and travel expenses. A tank of diesel fuel costs around $500; the Bus gets about 3.4 miles per gallon.
Through the Sponsor A Day campaign, friends and supporters of the mobile program can help defray some of these expenses by sponsoring all or part of a Bonnie’s Bus visit. A 15-minute sponsorship of $62.50 would cover the time associated with performing one mammogram on the Bus.
“We appreciate sponsorship at any level that our friends and supporters choose to donate,” Sara Jane Gainor, director of the program, said. “Every penny will be put toward the continuation of lifesaving breast screening services in our state.”
Made possible by a generous gift from West Virginia natives Jo and Ben Statler to the Cancer Center, Bonnie’s Bus is operated in partnership with WVU Hospitals. The bus is named after Jo Statler’s late mother, Bonnie Wells Wilson.
To learn more about Sponsor A Day on Bonnie's Bus, visit www.wvucancer.org/bonnie/sponsoraday.
To see all the communities the Bus is traveling to this year, visit www.wvucancer.org/bonnie.
-- WVU HEALTH --
For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087