Tuesday was a very important step in a race that has been over for almost a year.
"We work so hard 365 days a year to raise the money,” said Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia board member Sarah Denmark. “To be able to give it away is great. I don't think there's anything better than giving money away for good.”
The local Komen affiliate will be doing a lot of good in a lot of communities with the money they gave away Tuesday, more than $350,000 from last year's Susan G. Komen Savannah Race for the Cure.
The Komen grants presented to non-profit groups and medical organizations will help provide breast cancer screenings to women who might not have access to them.
"The Komen Foundation is really doing an excellent job,” said Dr. Fariborz Zaer, medical director of Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care, Inc. “It's because of their grant that we were able to provide free mammograms for hundreds and hundreds of women. Just here in Savannah we have a backlog of hundreds of women who need mammograms and are unable to get them because they don’t have insurance or funding to be able to do that.”
"This money will first of all go to outreach, to get people to understand what it is to detect breast cancer,” added Denmark. “It's going to mammograms to the uninsured and underinsured, particularly in the rural communities.”
Patricia Kelly got her mammogram through a Komen grant and her cancer was detected in an early stage.
"It's very important,” said Kelly. “I’m a survivor and I’m blessed to be here.”
The Komnen race returns for 2016 in four weeks, by which time the grants awarded Tuesday will already be at work across nine Coastal Georgia counties.
"It's something we can't take for granted because there are so many barriers,” said Dr. Zaer. “People who have no health insurance, it's a great challenge to them.”