Mammography on the Move

By: Valerie Lauer
Friday, November 7, 2014

By making mammography more accessible, the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center Bonnie Wells Wilson Mobile Mammography Program plays a vital role in WVU Healthcare’s fight against breast cancer.

Remote locations, lack of local services and financial hardships make access to potentially lifesaving screening for breast cancer out of reach for many women in West Virginia.

Commonly known as Bonnie’s Bus, the Bonnie Wells Wilson Mobile Mammography Program centerpiece is a 40-foot mammography clinic on wheels. Decorated in soothing tones of pink, the bus is equipped with the same digital mammography screening tools found in WVU Healthcare’s Betty Puskar Breast Care Center and is staffed by a dedicated team.

“There are areas in West Virginia where breast cancer is considered a disparity issue, but breast cancer is prevalent among women everywhere,” says Sara Jane Gainor, MBA, Assistant Director for Cancer Prevention and Control at Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center and Program Director of the Bonnie Wells Wilson Mobile Mammography Program. “The easiest way to combat breast cancer deaths for women is early detection, and mammograms are the best detection tool.”

Embracing the Community

Sara Gainor 150
Sara Jane Gainor, MBA, Program Director, Bonnie Wells Wilson Mobile Mammography Program

Thanks to the support of grants and generous donors, Bonnie’s Bus is able to provide mammography to women across West Virginia. No woman is turned away because of her ability to pay. If a woman does not have insurance or other coverage, donations or grant funds are used to cover the cost of her mammogram.

Since the Bonnie’s Bus program was founded in 2009, more than 8,800 women have been screened for breast cancer in events hosted at medical clinics, health fairs, pharmacies, churches and elsewhere.

Thus far, 21 cases of breast cancer have been discovered thanks to screenings performed on the bus — 11 of these in 2013 alone. As the program grows, so does the community’s passion for this project.

The initial donation to found Bonnie’s Bus came from Jo and Ben Statler. Mrs. Statler’s mother, Bonnie Wells Wilson, lost her life to breast cancer. Jo wanted to honor her mother by providing access to mammograms to all women in the state.