The rain last Friday might have hampered a local non-profit group from spreading the word about breast cancer awareness, but officials hope that local women will take advantage of free screenings throughout the year.
On Oct. 1 the Hudson Perinatal Consortium, Inc., a Hudson County organization offering educational and health services, hosted its “Tie a Ribbon” campaign in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month throughout the area.
In North Bergen it was hosted at the Urban Enterprise Zone office at 7616 Broadway Ave. Hudson Perinatal employee Jennifer Singer, a North Bergen resident and the group’s teen health initiative coordinator, stopped women walking past, informing them that women over 40 without health insurance, or those with a family history of breast, cervical, or ovarian cancer, could receive certain free gynecological exams.
The program, known as the New Jersey Education and Early Detection Project in Hudson County (NJCEED), provides free early detection services, including colorectal, prostate and skin cancer, throughout the year. Participants receive certificates, which they can use at many local clinics in their neighborhoods.
“We’re talking about women’s health issues, these are extremely important.” – Mayor Nicholas Sacco
Singer also gave out bags of free information and received donations which help fund the Consortium. The organization helps women with cancer by providing them with free medication, wigs, prosthetics, and at the end of the year, helps fund a Christmas party for them.
“We’re talking about women’s health issues,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco. “They are extremely important.”
Hudson Perinatal Executive Director Mariann Moore said that around 2,800 uninsured women are screened through the NJCEED program every year.
The yearly October outreach campaign is funded by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, while the group works with the Hudson County Cancer Coalition to make it a reality.
Moore said she felt it was very important for women to know about the program, since while funding for family planning was cut from the state budget, which will likely endanger funding for women’s healthcare clinics throughout the state, their program’s monies remain intact.
Sacco, who is also a state senator, said that recently Senate democrats attempted to veto Gov. Christopher Christie’s decision to remove this funding from the budget but were unable to get enough votes to do so.
“In another budget year, maybe we can get money reinstated,” said Sacco. “The Democrats were defeated this year. Let’s see what happens next year. These organizations that exist are extremely important for the health of the people, for these people in this area and in the state of New Jersey.”
Sacco believed it was important for women to take advantage of the free screenings available to them through Hudson Perinatal, especially due to the funding situation.
Singer suggested that next year they might hand out more flyers before the date of the event in order to garner more interest in women throughout the community, whom she hoped would take advantage of the program.
UEZ Coordinator Kim Nicoliello said that the rain may have kept people from coming out, but that it was important for them to utilize the screenings. She felt that because her office is located in the business district, it was important for them to be involved in the outreach program.
“The best prevention right now is these mammograms,” she said. “Everybody should get them. That’s what we are trying to put out there.”
Moore said that women interested in getting more information should contact Wanda Butler, the health educator for Hudson Perinatal, at (201) 876-8900 at Ext. 221.
Tricia Tirella may be reached at TriciaT@hudsonreporter.com.