A North Texas woman says that a newspaper advertisement for a mobile breast cancer screening clinic helped to save her life.
Frances Ruiz said that the ad caught her attention since it was an offer for a free mammogram. She called the posted phone number and was screened. This mammogram revealed a diagnosis that, if undiscovered, could have been deadly.
Ruiz has decided to share her story during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She was laid off from work in September 2013. In December of that year, Ruiz was due for her annual mammogram.
“I told my husband that I’m not working. I’m just going to stay home,” she recalled. “And I don’t have health insurance. I just don’t have it, so I can’t do my mammogram anymore.”
The two years that followed involved a miraculous and emotional twist of fate.
While visiting her son’s home to watch a Cowboys game, Ruiz had almost left her Sunday newspaper behind.
“I said no, I’m gonna take it because I always like to look at the articles and sales,” she recalled. “There was a commercial. I pulled out the newspaper and was looking through the newspaper. And in one corner, it said Moncrief Institute free mammograms for uninsured women.”
This free mammogram, when she otherwise could not have received one without paying out of pocket, revealed her diagnosis.
“I was stage one, grade three,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz’s story is an example of why Moncrief is using a federal taxpayer-funded grant to push its mobile breast cancer screening clinic, which targets uninsured and “underinsured” patients, according to Dr. Ina Patel, who works for Moncrief.
“The goal of Moncrief with this grant is to go out all throughout DFW, not just in Fort Worth, and provide free screenings for patients,” she said. “Because all it takes is one mammogram to tell you have a mass or calcifications.”
Ruiz, a mother of two and grandmother of five, expressed her gratitude for the institute’s offered programs. “I would not be here had it not been for Moncrief,” Ruiz said. “Thank you for offering free mammograms and saving my life.”
“Whoever decided to put that ad in the paper, whoever decided to do that, they saved my life,” she told FOX News. “I’m sitting here because of Moncrief, and I will forever be grateful to them.”
Moncrief also takes donations to support the services it offers.