Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  NEWS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives
Party Now,
Don't Pay Later

By Jeanne Sager
WURTSBORO — May 29, 2007 — It’s a sort of tradition for Liz Bucar, turning convention on its ear.
She was 14 when she led her first walk-out from her Ohio high school one year before students were gunned down by police 90 miles to the south at Kent State University.
At 55, Bucar’s methods are equally unconventional and even closer to the heart.
She’s throwing mammogram parties.
Yes, you read that right.
There are no kitchen products to buy, no hand cream demonstrations or arts and crafts projects.
Women come together.
They eat.
They sign up for some therapy with a local masseur.
There might be some impromptu yoga.
And one by one, they step outside, climb the steps of Catskill Regional Medical Center’s Mobile Health van and strip down to the waist.
They allow Nurse Practitioner Kathy O’Mara to take an X-ray of each breast.
They get dressed and head back to the party and the fun.
Getting a mammogram isn’t fun.
Ask Bucar or any woman over the age of 40 who has been directed to submit to the test on an annual basis.
She once said a man wouldn’t get a testicular cancer check either if the test required his testicles be smashed between two plates.
It’s no wonder women put them off.
“People who should know better – including myself – too often we put it off because there are too many things going on in our lives,” Bucar said.
“We don’t realize the import of it until something happens.”
Bucar’s boss, Century 21 Lanza Realty owner Melissa Lanza, agreed to act as sponsor for this year’s mammogram party at her office on Route 209 because she’s seen the writing on the walls.
Friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and the early detection was the key to survival.
“You go and support friends who go through it, and it’s staring you in the face,” Lanza said. “It’s in front of you – why haven’t you made that appointment?
“But you always have a to-do list, except for yourself.”
Lynelle Alessi knows she should be getting checked every year.
She’s 42, two years past the age the National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society both suggest is the time when annual mammography should start.
Last year, Alessi was checked.
Last year, she still had health insurance.
“I’m not due until August, and I was thinking about not having insurance and how am I going to pay for it,” she said.
She was willing to put it off because, she said, she’s more than a little uncomfortable being touched by a stranger.
Then Bucar told her about the Healthy Women’s Partnership.
Grant funding allows the healthmobile to offer the uninsured and underinsured women of the community free mammograms if they’re 40 and older and free pap smears if they’re 18 and older.
Alessi put her fears aside.
She got checked.
She stepped off the van pleasantly surprised by the experience.
“Kathy was really nice,” she admitted.
It wasn’t fun, but inside her office there was food and companionship.
There were other women – all in the same boat.
Carol Ferguson, a technician on the mobile van, said parties like Bucar’s are what the healthcare community needs.
Innovative ideas, something that gets people out.
The healthmobile is designed to travel – they just need space to park and people to care for, Ferguson said.
“Wherever people will come, we’ll go,” she noted.
If you haven’t had a mammogram, swing on by, she continued.
They don’t cure cancer, but the American Cancer Society credits the tests for often finding cancer cells when they’re still too small to be felt by a woman or her doctor.
“I ask people, ‘Do you still have breasts? Get ‘em checked!’” Ferguson said.
To book the HealthMobile for your party, call Kathy O’Mara at 794-3300, ext. 2254.

top of page  |  home  |  archives