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WVBHI working to battle breast cancer in W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A new West Virginia grassroots non-profit organization – West Virginia Breast Health Initiative, Inc.  – has launched into 2018 with  goal to eliminate the “on-average”  six West Virginians a week who die from breast cancer.

Located on the campus of Bream Memorial Church at 317 W. Washington Street, Charleston, WV 25302, WVBHI’s office is open and maintains a “stop-by-anytime” open-door policy for any West Virginian impacted by breast cancer and in need of assistance and support. It’s online at
WVBHI’s fundraising efforts will be used to support the following services in West Virginia:

•   Provide support for early detection breast cancer screening tests (clinical breast exams, mammography and MRI services)

•   Provide financial based needs assistance to those suffering from breast cancer and their families

•   Provide community outreach education programs to local area schools in an effort to educate youth on topics such as breast cancer detection and breast health,

•   Provide immediate phone support and education to those diagnosed with breast cancer on topics such as insurance coverage

•   Provide grants for rural community health clinics and hospitals to assist in areas such as early detection breast cancer screening tests

“What sets WVBHI apart from other organizations are the individuals that comprise its staff and Board of Directors. The WVBHI staff and board are uniquely composed of individuals who have been personally impacted by the disease of breast cancer and who can therefore provide the empathy, understanding, compassion, responsiveness and support that so many West Virginians and their families need when facing the frightening initial diagnosis of breast cancer and the impact of treatment,” a spokesperson said.

For example, WVBHI’s Mission & Outreach Coordinator, Misty Bennett, is a breast cancer survivor and is currently battling Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Ms. Bennett, who is also a mother of two, says it best:
“My story is just one of many stories of women and men in West Virginia, that need help. On average in West Virginia, six people will die each week from breast cancer. I was one of the lucky ones. I want to give back, because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for those who came before me,” Bennett said.
Other staff and board members share similar personal experiences with battling breast cancer.

Many of the staff within WVBHI will be familiar to the West Virginia community as having previously worked with the Susan G. Komen West Virginia affiliate which dissolved in August 2017. This dissolution followed other states including Wyoming, Maine and Arizona as Komen-National’s administrative costs continued to rise. As President Debbie Townsend said, “keeping the West Virginia affiliate was not an option for us because it would have meant less resources for West Virginians currently battling breast cancer.”

WVBHI has had an explosive start, Bennett said.  On Sept. 23, 2017, WVBHI held its first fundraiser at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, raising thousands of dollars for West Virginians battling breast cancer.

Charles Town’s Vice President of Racing Erich Zimny said, “With WVBHI, we know we are partnering up with passionate and dedicated folks who are committed to making a difference right here in West Virginia … thanks to the efforts and tireless work of those working and volunteering for WVBHI, we have been able to hold an event that’s raised thousands for breast health care and awareness right here in West Virginia.”

WVBHI’s largest fundraiser is coming up: a 5K walk/run held in Charleston, W.Va., on May 5, 2018, at the West Virginia State Capitol. For more information about this event, visit the organization’s website at or call 304-556-4808.

— About West Virginia Breast Health Initiative, Inc. – The West Virginia Breast Health Initiative, Inc. is a new organization with an ongoing mission to increase breast cancer awareness, education and prevention throughout West Virginia. One hundred percent of funds raised will remain in West Virginia and will continue grants with existing health partner programs.

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