Grants from the Joe and Mary Wilson Community Benefit Fund of the Mary Washington Hospital Foundation are being used to help with operating expenses at a Colonial Beach free clinic and making sure uninsured, low-income women have access to free screenings for breast and cervical cancer.
The Guadalupe Free Clinic of Colonial Beach will use the Wilson grant to defray operating costs and to purchase medicine and medical supplies through 2019. Mary Washington Hospital has supported the Guadalupe clinic since it opened in 2005.
The clinic is an outreach of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and is operated by a small staff and team of volunteers. About 100 doctors and nurses, pharmacists and phlebotomists have signed up to help, but a core group of 12 to 15 people volunteer regularly, according to a 2018 story about the clinic in The Free Lance–Star.
The clinic serves about 1,290 adults, and about half are Hispanics who work for nearby seafood processing firms or in landscaping. The facility is on the grounds of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church and is supported solely by grants and donations.
The Rappahannock Area Health District also received a 12-month, $15,972 Wilson grant for its Every Woman’s Life, or EWL program. Because the program is subsidized through federal and state grants, the local award will provide funding for an outreach worker to promote awareness and increase the number of screenings.
“Screening has been shown to reduce deaths from colorectal, breast and cervical cancers,” according to the American Cancer Society website. “Screening women 40 and over with mammography has contributed to steady declines in the breast cancer death rate since 1990. Use of the pap test in adult women has led to dramatic drops in cervical cancer deaths in the United States; in many countries where pap tests are not available, cervical cancer is the major cause of cancer deaths in women.”