The worry for women who are unable to pay to keep themselves healthy is a very personal pain for The Rose. When she was 22 years old, The CEO and Co-Founder of The Rose, Dorothy Gibbons lost her mother to cervical cancer, because she was unable to afford health insurance.
Many women who come to The Rose experience similar struggles with preventable grief and loss. Women like Barbee.
Barbee had her annual mammogram every year without fail from 2004 to 2012. Then, a divorce left her without any insurance. Barbee wasn’t worried because she had always been healthy. She decided to “risk it,” and put off her annual mammogram for two and a half years.
In 2015, one of The Rose’s mobile mammography units visited her community and Barbee decided to make an appointment. She had no reason to believe she was anything less than well, so imagine her surprise when three weeks later she got a call from The Rose telling her she needed a biopsy.
A few days after her biopsy, Barbee was asked to return with a family member. On January 12, 2015, Barbee was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 50.
"What was I going to do? That was going through my mind," Barbee said. "I had no job, I was living with family and the biggest fear - hearing that word, cancer - the word is enough to scare a person."
The Rose provided Barbee with a Patient Navigator, Maria Linares, who helped her every step of the way. Maria was with Barbee at every first appointment.
“Had these people not been here for me, and with the technology they have, and the love and support of the system they have, I wouldn’t be here right now,” she said. “They have taken me in. I don’t have the funds, I don’t have the resources, but I do have my arms and legs and I can help them raise more money and make people aware of what these people can do for people like me. That’s what I’m here for.”
Barbee has taken her determination and put it into action. She shares her story and what The Rose has done for her throughout her community so that more women can receive life-saving preventative care. Barbee even volunteered for the 2016 Shrimp Boil, selling auction tickets and sharing her story, while going through chemotherapy.
Barbee’s experience is one story of the many uninsured women who walk through the doors of The Rose. Though we’ve made great strides, our work is far from over. Every month, hundreds of women turn to us for help. Your contributions directly impact women in our community—women who may be your neighbors, friends or family.
Please help us continue serving, advocating and saving lives. Give back today. Because you care, she lives.