Breast cancer. Words no woman wants to hear. Now imagine being uninsured and diagnosed with breast cancer. Karen Mick volunteers at GFCFS as a Well Woman Navigator. Six of Karen’s friends were diagnosed with breast cancer. Five were detected early and survived; one was detected in advanced stages and did not survive. That’s when Karen knew her mission was to promote early detection and treatment for women without access to health care. When she retired, Karen decided to volunteer at the Clinic, whose mission – to provide access to health care and basic human services for Goochland residents in need – aligns so closely with hers.
It was as a volunteer in the Clinic at GFCFS, that Karen helped develop the Well Woman’s Program. Karen tracks all female patients over 40 and gets mammogram appointments for them. When there are obstacles for patients, such as lack of transportation or difficulty getting time off from work for an appointment, Karen will help the client navigate those barriers. It may mean finding a ride to an appointment or writing a letter to a patient’s boss explaining why time off is needed. Karen is persistent and will find the resources a patient needs whether for a routine mammogram or a complex treatment plan.
Over the last four years, Karen has donated over 600 hours to the Well Woman Program. Through her advocacy, Karen has helped hundreds of women get mammograms, and for those diagnosed, she supports them through their treatment. Karen says, “It takes a team to help women diagnosed with breast cancer, and I’m surrounded by wonderful people at GFCFS, committed to help the most vulnerable get the timely services they need to survive. We work with the Paredes Institute, which provides excellent woman’s health care for our patients. If someone has to walk down that road, at least they won’t be alone.”
Congratulations Karen on being selected a 2017 Hometown Hero.