Awareness project aids with financial burden of breast cancer

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If you go

What: Steamboat Rally for a Cure benefiting the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project and the Susan G. Komen foundation

When: 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. July 14

Where: Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club in Steamboat Springs

For more information about the Rally, call 879-1391 or Linda Danter at 879-7114.

By the numbers

Last year, the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project paid for:

• 59 mammograms and ultrasounds

• Six annual wellness visits

• $4,000 for COBRA payments

• $28,000 for medications, wigs, child care, transportation and utility bills

• $15,000 gift for a new digital imaging mammography machine at Yampa Valley Medical Center

Overall, the group helped 118 women in Moffat and Routt counties.

— Debbie Curd wants to promote prevention and early detection, but she thinks money should not get in the way.

The Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project has been helping women of Moffat and Routt counties to cover expenses related to breast cancer since 2000.

Curd, the founder and committee chair of the organization, started the program after losing a close friend to breast cancer at the age of 40.

"I saw all the expenses she incurred, so I decided to start this program to help women with those costs," Curd said. "Given the community, there are a number of women who have no insurance or who have minimal coverage. Our whole goal is prevention."

Toward that end, Curd's organization raises money to provide year-round help to local women to make sure they get mammograms, proper exams and treatment if cancer is diagnosed.

Curd started the project nine years ago by putting out boxes for donations and selling hand-made pink lapel ribbons. Today, the organization's annual fundraisers raise thousands of dollars, which help more than 100 women in the area.

The main fundraiser in the fall, The Bust of Steamboat, is an auction of works donated by local artists. The only requirement for an artistic donation is that a bra or a bust be incorporated into the work.

Another major fundraiser, Steamboat's Rally for a Cure, is a golf tournament that divides 100 percent of the proceeds between the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project and the Susan G. Komen foundation.

All the money raised by the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project goes directly to women of Moffat and Routt counties. Everyone involved with the organization works as volunteers, so there are no administrative costs.

The organization has helped women without insurance and those with insurance to cover costs on a variety of things when they have trouble covering costs themselves. Examples include medications, tests and treatments, to things not covered by insurance such as transportation, child care and utility expenses.

"Even if they're going to treatment and insurance covers all costs, we've paid for utilities before because women couldn't work," Curd said.

To apply for help, women simply have to call and put in a request.

"We don't get into too much filtering," Curd said. "Maybe in the future if we had more requests than we could cover, but at this point we are able to fund women."

When a large request is made, such as a rent payment, the committee meets to discuss the situation and decide whether the request can be fulfilled. More often than not, it can be.

Kay Borvansky, from Steamboat Springs, had good health insurance and did not expect to need help from Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project when she was diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago, but expenses piled on and she is thankful the organization was able to help.

"They did help me with travel expenses," Borvansky said. "Those kinds of expenses you think you're not going to need, but I was going down to Denver every three weeks, and it's the gas, and sometimes lunch or in some cases a place to stay."

Now, Borvansky is doing well, but she still actively participates in the organization's fundraisers.

"They're fantastic, and really if you want to see it benefit people locally, it's the perfect organization to help," Borvansky said.

Anyone needing assistance from Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project should call 846-4554.

Yesenia Robles can be reached at 875-1790.

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