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"Especially for You" Race
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- It was just after the floods of 2008 when Wendy Dickens realized she needed to have her yearly mammogram. But her husband lost his job in the flood, costing Wendy her regular insurance plan.
Luckily, Wendy said, the Especially for You fund from Mercy Hospital was there to pay for the exam.
"Having that available to me made a difference in the way I took care of myself," Wendy said.
After that exam, Wendy's doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer. But they caught it early, and after five years of treatment, Wendy is finally healed.
"Cancer may have changed me, but it doesn't define me. It's part of my story, but it's not who I am," she said.
That's one reason why Wendy wants more women to take advantage of the fund, and why she wants more people to help out by running or walking this year's Especially for You race. Last year, the fund helped 741 women pay for more than 1,000 services. Race director Michelle Cole said it's all about supporting women who are battling or have beaten breast cancer.
"We just want them to know if they come out that we're here for you, and no one should have to face cancer alone," Cole said.
Wendy, her family, and her friends will be out running the race again this year -- but, this time, in remembrance.
Last year, Wendy's sister-in-law Lisa was also diagnosed with breast cancer. Lisa hadn't had a mammogram, and doctors caught the cancer too late. Lisa died last October.
"She said the words, 'I feel like a fool,' for not having that procedure done, which I understand. And so, again, it gets back to: what do you say to women, who, for whatever reason, whether it's financially or fear (decide not to get a mammogram). But, it's important," Wendy said.
CBS 2 News is a proud sponsor of the Especially for You race. Find out more information, including how to register at especiallyforyourace.org.