Komen hands out life-saving grants

By Victoria

DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- More men and women will be able to get breast cancer screenings and perhaps more lives will be saved, thanks to more than a half million dollars in grant money handed out Tuesday night by the Susan G. Komen Lowcountry affiliate.

"It's education, it's screenings, it's diagnostic services, support services and even lymphedema treatment," said Lucy Spears, Komen Mission Program Director.

Ten organizations that serve Lowcountry men and women got the $524,614 in grant money, including The Best Chance Network.

"Last year, the funding provided by the Lowcountry Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure allowed us to provide more than 1,300 mammograms in the Lowcountry to women in poverty, who may not have had the chance to receive one otherwise, said Dianna Lydiard, the organizations program coordinator.

Lydiard said this year, thanks to more funding, they will be able to provide an additional 750 mammograms. What's more, she said last year they were able to save the lives of at least six women who were diagnosed with early stages of breast cancer.

"The personal satisfaction is when you get that letter and they say thank you so much I'm going to see my grandchild next year because you identified my cancer early," said Lydiard.

"It's really a bittersweet night for us," said Lucy Spears. "We were able to fund 10 grants, but there were some we were unable to fund because we literally did not have the money ourselves to give back."

Spears said the money is raised throughout the year through fundraisers like the annual Race for the Cure on Daniel Island. Komen is also one of the featured charities in this year's Cooper River Bridge Run, so giving is as easy as buying a charity bib.

The nine other organizations receiving money are: the ALALA Cancer Society, Allendale County Hospital, Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic, Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, McLeod Health, The Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties, Roper St. Francis Healthcare-Roper St. Francis Foundation, Smith Medical Clinic and Volunteers in Medicine Clinic.