Maine Breast Cancer Coalition
Winter 2015 Newsletter
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2014 Support Service Fund Annual Summary

The Maine Breast Cancer Coalition Support Service Fund provides financial assistance for breast health or breast cancer related needs to qualified Maine residents. The Fund assists low-income, uninsured, and underinsured people, including those newly diagnosed with breast cancer, who don’t qualify for, or whose particular needs aren’t covered by other assistance programs.

Support Service Fund milestones:
  • Number of years since the Fund was started: 15
  • Number of applicants the first year: 50
  • Number of applicants in 2014: 376
  • Total amount awarded to qualified applicants in the past 15 years: more than $1,500,000
  • Number of Maine people helped by the Fund since it began: 3,000+
Statistics from the 2014 Support Service Fund program: 
  • Number of approved applications: 367
  • Counties represented: all 16 Maine counties
  • Total amount awarded: $183,874
  • Average grant amount: $501
  • Age range of applicants: 28 to 89
Representative items and services funded in 2014: 
  • breast imaging (mammography and ultrasound)
  • lab/pathology
  • radiologist readings
  • surgeon/physician fees or copays
  • lymphedema compression garments (lymphedema is a side-effect of breast cancer treatment)
  • prescriptions
  • breast prostheses
  • wigs
  • temporary living expense support for people in breast cancer treatment
  • travel expenses to treatments
  • many other support services
To find out more about the Support Service Fund or to apply for a grant, download an easy-to-complete application from our website at, or call Maine Breast Cancer Coalition at 207-945-0008 or 800-928-2644 to request that an application be mailed to you. Call us if you need help completing the application.
The Maine Breast Cancer Coalition is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  

How is the Support Service Fund funded?

The 2014 Support Service Fund was supported by the Maine Breast Cancer Specialty License Plate Program; a grant from the Susan G. Komen Maine®; also, CDC Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program contract funds supported by a Cooperative Agreement from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; dedicated fundraisers by many Maine organizations and businesses, including long-term supporters Greater Bangor Women’s Ski and Snowboard Club, York Hospital Breast Cancer Survivors Group, and Maine Fraternal Order of Eagles Groups; individual contributions by members and supporters of MBCC, and the dedication of our volunteers and our Support Service Fund program assistant.  



Maine CDC Breast and Cervical Health Program:
An Important Resource for Maine Women

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) seeks to create greater access to health care by getting more people covered by insurance. For women who have purchased coverage on the Marketplace or other privately purchased plans, but continue to be burdened by premiums, deductibles and co-pays that prevent them from receiving breast cancer screening services, the Maine CDC Breast and Cervical Health Program (MBCHP) can be a valuable resource for women needing breast and/or cervical cancer screening and follow-up services.
Program eligibility for MBCHP:
  • Women age 40 to 64, with the following exceptions:
  • Women 35-39 who have seen a doctor and need follow-up tests for a possible breast or cervical cancer;
  • Women 35-39 who have not had a Pap test in 5 or more years.
  • Maine resident (or New Hampshire resident located within 15 miles of the Maine state border), and;
  • Household income less than or equal to 250% of the current Federal Poverty Level (FPL), and;
  • Have no health insurance, or health insurance with high co-pays, deductibles or premiums;
  • Women receiving MaineCare or Medicare Part B are not eligible for MBCHP.
MBCHP enrollment is conducted over the phone in minutes: call 1-800-350-5180, Press 1
Important information for healthcare professionals:
Maine’s primary care providers are encouraged to continue referring women to MBCHP for screening and follow-up services for abnormal screening results. It is important to remember that even with the changes in health insurance laws and coverage, MBCHP is available to assist eligible women to gain access to needed breast and/or cervical cancer screening and follow-up services. Timely follow-up to abnormal screening results is critical to the early detection and treatment of cancer and pre-cancerous lesions.
Uninsured women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer or undergoing treatment for breast or cervical cancer may qualify for MaineCare [Maine Medicaid Program] under the Maine Treatment Act. Call the MBCHP Case Manager/Patient Navigator to determine if your patient qualifies for treatment coverage [1-800-350-5180, Press 1 and ask for the Case Manager].   
Help Support MBCC Volunteers' Leadership Role in Ending Breast Cancer
In May, Maine Breast Cancer Coalition volunteers Bethany Zell (MBCC President) and Laurel Bezanson (MBCC Advocacy Committee Chair) will once again be headed to Washington, DC to represent MBCC at the 2015 National Breast Cancer Coalition Advocate Leadership Summit and to meet with Maine's legislators.

Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® is the National Breast Cancer Coalition's global initiative to know how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. According to Bethany, "As leaders in the breast cancer movement and supporters of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®, we are committed to being a part of this important work. As leaders, we are also raising money to support the plan of action to achieve our goal of ending breast cancer."

Photo l. to r.: Laurel Bezanson, MBCC Advocacy Committee Chair and long-term breast cancer survivor; Bethany Zell, MBCC President and Advocacy Committee, at the 2014 NBCC Advocacy Summit

Laurel wrote,
“In 1989 my life changed. At age 38, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and already had ten positive lymph nodes. My treatment was toxic, expensive and lengthy. After treatment, I needed to do something to change the status quo. Subsequently I became involved with the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition and the National Breast Cancer Coalition. I needed to make a difference in other peoples’ lives that were affected by this all-too-common disease. I have been an active member of both groups since 1993. I created my fund page to help me continue my advocacy efforts with NBCC and my ongoing support for Breast Cancer Deadline 2020. Attending the yearly NBCC Summit is key to ending breast cancer!”

Laurel and Bethany have each made a personal commitment to raise $1,000 and be "Deadline 2020® Champions"; Laurel is still working on this goal.
To make a donation of any amount toward this goal, please visit Laurel's personal fundraising page.

Find out more about how you can get involved.

Advocates at the 2014 NBCC Advocacy Summit
    Meet the Volunteer

"It is a fulfillment in my life to be able to help in some way."

Carmen Darkis,

MBCC Support Service Fund Committee member and long-term volunteer

Carmen Darkis has been a Maine Breast Cancer Coalition volunteer for seventeen years. She brings a unique perspective to her volunteer work, as a person who has been affected by breast cancer for decades. In 2012, Carmen was the recipient of the "Lifetime Inspiration Award", awarded by the Maine Cancer Foundation to "an individual who has achieved success above and beyond the ordinary in the fight against breast cancer in Maine."

Describe how you got started with MBCC.
A friend approached me to join MBCC, but it wasn’t until 1998, when I had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer five years earlier, that I joined. My original diagnosis was in 1988, and my mother succumbed 35 years earlier from breast cancer. I decided in 1998 that it was time to stop talking about it and do something about it, and became an active MBCC member and advocate. I made three trips to the National Breast Cancer Coalition Conference in Washington, D.C. to advocate and lobby. It was a wonderful experience.

Why do you choose to volunteer your time with this organization?
MBCC founded the Support Service Fund (SSF) in 2000 because we wanted to help women and men financially who had been diagnosed with breast cancer or had other needs that are breast related. It is a fulfillment in my life to be able to help in some way.

What tasks do you typically do for MBCC?
I held the office of Secretary for twelve years, and am still active on the Support Service Fund Committee, and also volunteer my services helping out, if possible, whenever I am needed.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Being retired, I have a lot of spare time, but somehow I seem to keep myself busy. Up until two years ago, I enjoyed a Senior Ten-Pin Bowling League twice a week for fifteen years, but had to quit due to health problems.

Tell about an unusual or surprising fact about yourself.
I always loved to fly when taking a trip but never wanted to fly in a small plane. Knowing this, an acquaintance invited me to go up in his small seaplane to view the fall foliage up north. At the beginning, I hesitated, and to my surprise it was like floating and so beautiful; I loved it and will never forget it.

Maine Breast Cancer Coalition is a volunteer-based organization. With the exception of one volunteer who is also a paid part-time Support Service Fund program assistant primarily funded by a Susan G. Komen Maine® grant, we are all volunteers.

For information about becoming a Maine Breast Cancer Coalition volunteer, contact us at: or 207-945-0008.

Young Survival Coalition:
Young Women Facing Breast Cancer Together


Established in 1998, Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is the premier global organization dedicated to young women diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC offers free resources, connections and educational materials so young women with breast cancer feel supported, empowered and hopeful. Through action, advocacy and awareness, YSC seeks to educate and influence the medical, research and legislative communities to address the disease in young women and ensure that no young woman faces breast cancer alone.

YSC works with survivors, caregivers and the medical, research, advocacy and legislative communities to increase the quality and length of life for women who are diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 or younger.

YSC today has nearly 100 Face 2 Face networks nationwide and a vibrant online community board and Facebook community. The organization hosts Regional Symposiums each year, as well as the YSC Summit, the only national conference dedicated to the unique issues of young women with breast cancer. YSC also produces free educational resources, such as our navigator series, with useful information about every phase of treatment and survivorship. Visit to learn more or order these or other YSC materials.

    Young breast cancer survivors holding their age at diagnosis.
Breast Cancer and Breast Health Resources

The Maine Breast Cancer Coalition's Resources page on our website provides links and/or contact information for Maine-based and national breast cancer and breast health resources. Information about Maine-based transportation programs for those in breast cancer treatment is also included.
Your Vote Matters!

Please help Maine Breast Cancer Coalition win a Bangor Savings Bank “Community Matters More” grant of $5,000 or $1,000. It only takes a minute to cast your vote.

Voting ends on February 28. Let’s see how many votes we can get before then!

Here’s how:
  • Click here.
  • Click on "Cast Your Vote Today”.
  • Follow the instructions to enter your name, email address, and zip code; then click “Next”.
  • Scroll down to “Southern Penobscot” on the ballot, click on “Other”, and type in “Maine Breast Cancer Coalition” as shown below.

  • You may vote for up to two more organizations, but you can only vote for Maine Breast Cancer Coalition once.
  • Click "Finish".
Thank you for supporting Maine Breast Cancer Coalition!

Help Drive Breast Cancer Out of Business!
Put a Maine Breast Cancer License Plate on your car or truck and help support breast cancer education, research, and patient care. All proceeds stay in Maine --- 100%.
The proceeds from the plate are split equally between three organizations: 

Maine Breast Cancer Coalition for our Support Service Fund 
Maine Cancer Foundation for their Women’s Cancer Fund
Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program for their Mammogram Fund

The plates can be purchased at any Bureau of Motor Vehicles location, at most town offices, or online at
How you Can Support MBCC's Work

Join Us!

Annual memberships are available at various levels for both individuals and businesses. Click here to join us online.

... or please consider a donation of any amount to the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition. You can donate online and make a secure donation using your credit card or PayPal account.

... or hold a fundraiser: If your community group, business, or organization would like to dedicate all or part of the proceeds from a fundraising effort to the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition, please see the "or you can hold a fundraising event or initiative" section of our Donate page to register your fundraiser. Download our Fundraiser Guide here. Or, you may contact us at 207-945-0008 or 1-800-928-2644, or
We would like to express our appreciation to the following individuals, groups, organizations, or businesses that held or supported recent fundraising events to benefit MBCC:
32 North Corporation
Bangor Plastic &  Hand Surgery
Champions Sports Bar
Diversified Communications
Shon Ellis - annual pig roast
F. R. Carroll Inc.
Fisher Engineering (snowplows)
Foreside Fitness
Fraternal Order of Eagles #4131
Freedom Drive Open Golf Tournament
   (John and Darlene Gleba)
Hannaford Supermarkets
Hollywood Casino
Home Depot Employees Association
Maine Care Services
Maine Medical Partners
Medline Foundation (Lisa Eaton, "Pink Glove" video)
Messalonskee H. S. Girls' Soccer
Old Orchard Beach Collegiate Baseball
People's United Bank
Portland H.S. Boys' Soccer
Powerpay Biz - Portland
Ri Ra Irish Pub
Robinson, Krieger, and McCallum
RTS Packaging LLC
Smiles For Maine (Dr. Charlie Ruff)
Southworth, Inc.
United Martial Arts Academies (Maine Dojo)
Waterboro Fire Dept.
Wells Professional Firefighters
Zumba for the Cure-Krystal Blaisdell
We are grateful for donations from:
James Condon
Robin Johnston
Margaret Mogavero
Marjorie Scott

Helmut and Janet Kohl in memory of
Edna Fifield

Carol Carew in memory of
Lydia Kim McDonald

In memory of Betty Carter:
Lauren Agostini
Nancy Agostini
Christopher Condon
Mark Endres
Fraternal Order of Eagles #4131
Beth Hogan
John Kenney
Jean Lupica
Virginia McDonald
Nell Sutherland

Betty Carter was a member of the New Gloucester Eagles and was a passionate supporter of the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition's work. She will be greatly missed.

The Maine Breast Cancer Coalition's Mission:

The Maine Breast Cancer Coalition is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the health of Maine people through:

  • Financial support for underserved people with breast health or breast cancer needs
  • Advocacy for breast cancer research and legislation
  • Education to promote knowledge about breast cancer and quality care
Copyright © 2015 Maine Breast Cancer Coalition, All rights reserved.

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