And they’re off, way off. Here in Kentucky we have a little horse race coming up this weekend. And nothing says Derby like big hats, mint juleps and mammograms.
Lauren Griffith had put off getting a mammogram for four years until last May, when she walked into a mobile clinic on the backside at Churchill Downs.
The free exam, provided in part by First Lady Jane Beshear’s Horses and Hope initiative, caught a tumor that led to a full mastectomy, said Griffith, 51, a security guard at Gate 5.
“I am the poster child for Horses and Hope,” she said. “I am the first cancer diagnosed through this program at Churchill.”
Griffith, of Louisville, is among the 213 horse track employees across the state who have received a free mammogram as part of Beshear’s two-year-old initiative.
(Beshear) said Horses and Hope has raised $161,000 for awareness efforts and mammograms, educated 146,844 race fans and 1,119 track employees through its “Pink Out” days and detected cancer in two backside workers, including Griffith.
Churchill pledges a dollar to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a national cancer awareness and research group, for every ticket sold to the Oaks and a dollar to Horses and Hope for every “Lilly” drink sold that day, a concoction named for the garland given to the Oaks winner. So far, those two efforts have produced $130,000.
Beshear, Sorrell and Griffith all said the focus on backside workers is significant because many are uninsured or underinsured and are from poorer countries where breast cancer awareness is nonexistent.“Many of them have never had a mammogram, ever; don’t even know what it is,” Griffith said.
Churchill Downs spokesman John Asher said the track has been pleased with the program.“They have pretty solid evidence they’ve saved some lives, especially in this industry, especially the segment of the racing population it targets,” he said. “It’s really been a tremendous thing for those people.” (emphasis mine)
Although the current focus is on backside workers, Beshear said she hopes to expand the program to other track workers, such as cooks and betting window clerks.
I was out running some errands yesterday and it occurred to me that it was simply impossible to walk into any major retail establishment these days without seeing something with a pink ribbon on it for sale. The car repair place, the electronics store, the grocery–EVERYWHERE. It is impossible not to be aware and darn near possible not to ‘show your support’ by buying some pink thingy where a few cents on the dollar will go for “The Cure”. So once again, as I’ve said so many times before–we are aware that an awful lot of corporations are making out like bandits pinkwashing their merchandise, and we are going broke paying for absurdly expensive cancer drugs because our health insurance gets cut off if we get breast cancer and what is needed is to work on identifying the cause so we can more accurately treat this disease, not more shot in the expensive dark ‘cures’.
And sure as hell, providing mammograms on the backside of the Downs is no substitute for comprehensive health care for ‘those’ people.