Every October, the teachers at East Jay Elementary School trade in their dressier duds for blue jeans — and although it might seem like a Halloween costume, they’re wearing denim for a good cause.
That’s because each of them is participating in school nurse Lori DeRome’s annual fundraising initiative that raises awareness for breast cancer — a campaign she’s led since 2007.
In exchange for a donation of $10 or more, teachers and staff can dress casually for the entire month.
Funds raised are gifted to IU Health Jay Hospital and help cover the expenses of mammograms for patients who cannot afford the preventive screening.
The average cost of a mammogram is $150 — a price tag that DeRome said can deter some women from scheduling an appointment, especially if they don’t have insurance.
“I’ve had friends tell me, ‘I'm not going to be able to get a mammogram because I don't have the money,’” DeRome recalled. “They were afraid they weren't going to be able to pay for it.”
These stories inspired her to make a difference in her community.
Providing women in need with resources that ensure they receive a mammogram is important to DeRome because screenings can detect breast cancer roughly five years before a woman can feel it herself. Finding early-stage breast cancer also allows for more treatment options and a better opportunity for long-term survival.
“Philanthropically supporting breast cancer care means you’re saving lives,” she said. “Because without philanthropy, these preventive resources are out of reach for women in need.”
But for women in east-central Indiana, those resources are made available thanks to the generosity of the teachers at East Jay Elementary School.
“Our fundraiser usually generates around $300,” said DeRome. “This means we get to help at least two people every year receive a mammogram. And who knows … that screening could just be the one that saves their life.”
You can join DeRome in supporting breast cancer care by making a gift to IU Health Jay Hospital today.