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Pink Outs Help Local Survivors Group Fight Breast Cancer

"Just B Cancer Free" sponsoring mobile mammography screenings in Farmington.

When the Farmington High girls soccer team held its Pink Out night recently, 10 women – local survivors – took the field to take the next step in the fight against breast cancer for themselves and for other women in town.

The women, members of local foundation Just B Cancer Free, were presented with a $5,000 check to be donated to The Partnership for Breast Care: Mobile Mammography, a Hartford Hospital program that offers mammograms to women who might not otherwise have access to the screenings.

“I would not have been there on that field if I had not had that mammogram,” said Anne Oberg, one of the 10 women who took the field. “So it does save lives and we want to make sure that people have access.”

The mobile mammography unit is a self-contained doctor’s office that can perform the same kinds of digital imaging women normally have done in radiology offices.

The large vehicle that resembles a large mobile home can screen 20 women a day, Oberg said, and the Mobile Mammography van will spend two days in April in Farmington, courtesy of the Just B Cancer Free Foundation.

“The Just B Cancer Free Foundation is made up of women survivors in Farmington,” explained Mia Ditommaso, a foundation member and organizer of the girls soccer Pink Out. “They are just so adamant about early detection - that’s why they’re all here today. The best early detection is mammograms and the fact is women are always putting everything else first – their kids, husband, jobs.”

But the mobile mammography van makes it easy. And bringing it to Farmington, where it could make a difference for local women, was important for the girls team. So this year, the money from most of the high school teams’ Pink Out events went to Just B Cancer Free.

“We wanted it to be local. We wanted the kids to visually see the effects of what they’re doing. It’s their moms, their aunts who are affected by it and we wanted to bring awareness to them, versus sending the money off somewhere they’d never see it,” Ditommaso said.

And when a large storm came and pushed the girls’ Pink Out back a day, and some of the survivors scheduled to come to the event couldn’t make it, they really saw how many families breast cancer has affected.

“All of us, our mouths were just open… We were playing Conard and my daughter and I remembered one of the girls on the team’s mom was a survivor and I said ‘hey can you call her up and ask can her mom escort,’” Ditommaso said.

That mom said yes. And then another called up and asked if she could do it, too. And then another.

“That’s three girls’ moms on the team of 23,” Ditommaso said. “That’s one in eight.”

The Pink Out was a huge success, Ditommaso said, with that event raising an additional $5,645 for Just B Cancer Free.

Many businesses participated or gave donations, including Kohl’s, which sent associates to help, Ameriprise, which donated cotton candy and Farmington Soccer Association, Farmington Sports Arena and Farmington Bank. The parents, volunteers and athletes brought the event together. 

“The event highlighted the fact that there are more important things in life than the result of a soccer game,” said Farmington girls soccer head coach Steve Jarvis, who began Pink Out three years ago. “It brought the community together for an altruistic purpose to raise awareness and money for a great cause. It's an event that our players, coaches and parents look forward to every year. There were many people responsible for the success of this year’s event, most notably the Ditommaso family, Pink Out committee members, Conard High School and cooperate sponsors.”

Appointments for the mobile mammography will be made in the spring through Farmington Social Services.

For more information about Just B Cancer Free, click on the pdf or call Mark Legowski at 860-676-1040.

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