Albert Schweitzer
Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Everyman has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth.  You must give some time to your fellow man. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who need help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own.  Your brothers are here too.

This could as easily read: … your sisters are here too but breast cancer does not play favorites, breast cancer can strike males as well as females.

cancer walkSeven or eight years ago when the question was asked about where do the women of San Felipe go for breast exams or mammograms, they were told: “There is no breast cancer in San Felipe.”  Just like “there are no homeless in San Felipe.”  “There are no children with disabilities in San Felipe.”  Yeah, right!!!

The gals asking this question were not easily put off.  They immediately set to work to put together what has become the Cancer Society of San Felipe which sponsors an annual Cancer Walk each year to raise funds and awareness for early cancer detection.  Both of these women, Michelle MacDonald and Freda Barber were no strangers to the battle against cancer.  They had fought that fight themselves.  It was their own experiences that lead them to be believers in the need for regular exams and mammograms.

With the donation of an analog mammogram machine which was donated by the John Muir Hospital in Northern California and coordinated by Concord-Clayton Valley Sunrise Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of San Felipe, the Cancer Detection Center opened it’s doors in May 2009 with a full time nurse and part time support staff.

Because of their commitment to this cause, San Felipe now has a clinic staffed with professionals where over over 6000 patients have been provided free PAP Smears and palpable breast exams.  Statistically, 11.5% of those seen are diagnosed with problems of one degree or another. Of male PSA tests, 10% of the results return with elevated numbers.  In addition to cancer screening and counseling, the San Felipe Cancer Society has financially helped hundreds of patients as young as a 3 year old diagnosed with leukemia and a 23 year old with thyroid cancer.

Because the government does not authorize payment for transportation to the nearest medical facilities two hours away or pay for some cancer treatments, the Society will step in and pay when other funding sources are unavailable.  They also assist patients in maneuvering through the governmental health system so that they receive those services and treatments the system offers.

MacDonald however would be the first to tell you that they haven’t done this alone.   The first Cancer Walk was launched, with the help and assistance of the “Rotary Club of San Felipe”, “The San Felipe Association of Retired Persons” and the “Club Las Amigas, in March 2007.  In February, 2013, the Society held its 7th annual cancer walk, again with the backing and participation of many other non-profits like those just mentioned, including Volunteers Without Limits and Better Together in Christ.

Because of their contribution to the community the Society has been offered the use of the 1,700 sq. ft. “San Felipe Chamber of Commerce” building on a long term – no cost “loan” of the property. The new facility will locate the clinic in a more central location for community accessibility and provide the space for added services. Currently, the new clinic is being remodeled and will open September 1, 2013.

The new facility will provide three examination rooms, for physical exams, ultra-sounds, and mammograms, a health education area and reception / waiting area. The society has received colposcopy equipment for which use space is currently unavailable but will be able to be used at the new facility. The inclusion of ultrasound service will eliminate the need to provide patient transportation to Mexicali, the closest ultrasound medical facility and reduce the number of actual mammograms.

The Society’s annual operating budget includes NO administrative fees. All administration is strictly volunteer. The operating revenue has come from the Annual Cancer Walk and private and group donations.

Personal Note: I don’t think there is a person reading this who can not think of a friend or family member affected by cancer.  So if you are looking for a place where you can do some good for someone, the Cancer Society should definitely be one of  the contenders for your time and/or money.