Erin Meek understands what it’s like to be scared for her life. In 1997 she was diagnosed with—and beat—thyroid cancer. As a survivor, Erin has transformed that understanding into hope.
As the Breast Health Navigator at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio, Erin gets uninsured women the treatment and understanding they need. But that’s just the beginning. Navigating the Gaps, a program Erin pioneered, has helped more than 100 uninsured women. Last year alone, she coordinated 52 mammograms that may have otherwise never happened.
Aultman Hospital’s free care program has helped many women get mammograms at no charge. That is why the funding and support from Yoplait and the American Cancer Society is so important to the cause. Aultman Hospital holds two free cancer screening days a year to provide free mammograms and other cancer screenings. They advertise to local free and low-income clinics first.
Several breast lumps have been found on these screening days. One woman in particular was very anxious about her results. Because she was uninsured, she was reluctant to proceed with testing. Through her relationship with The Breast and Cervical Cancer Project, Aultman Hospital was able to enroll her and complete her testing. She had breast cancer and was very nervous about her diagnosis. Erin guided her through the process to ease her anxiety and offered financial assistance. The woman would not have had a mammogram had it not been for the free screening day.
Another woman had been living with a lump for four years. She had no doctor, no insurance and nowhere to turn. Erin directed her to Aultman’s free care program and encouraged her to have the lump examined. The tests for breast cancer came back positive. At the same time, the woman lost her job and was on the verge of being evicted. With Erin’s help, she applied for assistance and was able to stay in her home. She receives chemotherapy treatments now and expects to be working again soon.
Despite her many contributions, Erin continues looking toward the work that remains. “There are so many women still out there who aren’t aware of their risks. There are also those women who are newly diagnosed and have no support.”
Erin’s understanding is what makes her a Yoplait Breast Cancer Champion. She understands what cancer patients face. She understands their fears. She understands the obstacles that confront them. But above all, she shows us how a little understanding is all it takes to start making a difference.
The money awarded from Yoplait and the American Cancer Society will allow Aultman to educate and screen additional women that can’t be accommodated on cancer screening day. Our goal is to avoid having to turn away anyone from a free screening. Will you contribute to the Aultman Foundation and make a difference in a cancer patient’s life?