Michelle-O-Gram was established following the untimely death of a local young wife and mother. Michelle Blauser Standridge, 36, succumbed to breast cancer in 2009. During her three year battle, Michelle was always thinking of others and reminding them to get their mammograms. To continue Michelle’s legacy, Joey Wiesbaum RN, of Dunnellon, Florida, had a clever idea for a nonprofit—Michelle-O-Gram. With the approval of Michelle's husband and family, we began collecting donations, hosting fundraisers and getting the word out. We were also able to partner with local radiology and imaging centers, allowing us to help women without insurance, or in financial crisis, to obtain mammography testing.
Advanced Imaging of Ocala, Florida, has been unbelievably gracious in scheduling MOG recipients for testing. Most of the women tested are between the ages of 30 and 50 years. Many previously had insurance in the past; but now, do not have the financial resources for testing. Since 2009, Michelle-O-Gram has served over 900 women and men in six area counties. We realize the importance of getting assistance locally and have extended our outreach to Advanced Imaging in the Villages, Clermont and Leesburg. In addition, we get referrals from Lazarus Free Clinic in Wildwood. Michelle-O-Gram has also partnered with 3 Angels Clinic in Ocala whose staff is readily available to see clients and write orders for breast exams.
One particular woman who called for assistance had been living with a lump in her breast for nearly 6 months. She felt she had nowhere to turn for help. Subsequently, she was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery and received follow up treatment. Another young lady was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. After receiving treatment at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, she is now able to continue raising her young autistic son. Feeling alone and without financial aid, one woman turned to Michelle-O-Gram and continues to call us just to say, "thank you, you saved my life." The stories go on and on.
The only way this program can continue to provide assistance is through the generosity of individuals and local organizations. Michelle-O-Gram provides screening mammograms diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds, BRCA gene testing and counseling, as well as breast biopsies. Rather than seeking a screening mammogram as preventative care, many women come to us with actual health issues. We have also been very successful in providing referrals for procedures and other treatments.
The First United Methodist Church, in Dunnellon, Florida, includes Michelle-O-Gram under the umbrella of their 501(c) nonprofit status. Their contribution to Michelle-O-Gram allows us to assist even more women. Since there are no administrative costs, every dollar donated to Michelle-O-Gram goes back into the community assisting those who need it.
Michelle-O-Gram is more than just scheduling mammograms. We continue to expand our services to include obtaining a doctor's orders for mammograms, BRCA gene information and referral, as well as ensuring those in need are aware help is available. Michelle-O-Gram is proud to help raise awareness in our community and the world around us.