October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, a worldwide annual campaign involving thousands of organizations, to highlight the importance of breast awareness, education, and research. Breast cancer is now the number one killer of Chinese women. A lack of awareness about breast cancer and low screening rates leave many women discovering it at late stages, yet with early detection many lives can be saved. Although we’re nearing the end of October, continued awareness of all cancers must continue if we hope to improve survival rates.
Green-T House recently hosted a wonderful event called “Diva Day”. Their beautiful space in Shunyi saw vendors selling unique items, ranging from clothing to jewelry, with Green-T serving up some of their finest cuisine. The day wasn’t all about shopping as it also saw the launch of the new Wheels for Life mobile health bus. Wheels for Life is part of the United Family Charity Fund, which provides free medical care, services and treatment to over 50 partner organizations.
With the launch of Wheels for Life, women and children living and working in orphanages and migrant schools will receive onsite medical visits to provide preventative healthcare, immunizations, and physical examinations. It’s also one of the first mobile health buses in the world to provide breast cancer screening to underserved women, using GE Healthcare Automated Breast Ultrasound Screening (ABUS).
The mobile unit will begin by "caring for the carers" those women already devoted to foster homes and migrant schools around Beijing. Over the coming months the women will receive screenings and support, providing them with access to preventative services they simply do not have. In addition, the charity fund will provide a financial contribution towards the medical expenses of those women that may be diagnosed with breast cancer.
During the soft launch period the bus will be operating four times per month. Each time they go out to offer breast cancer screenings, they hope to be able to screen 10-15 women. The goal is 500 women per year. The cost to run the bus depends on how often it goes out. One day per week or four times per month and the cost is around RMB 50,000. This covers gas, driver, consumables, doctors, nurses, program manager, IT, and utilities. The doctors and nurses time is subsidized by UFH so their costs are at a reduced rate.
The Wheels for Life program needs funding and volunteers. One volunteer is needed each time the bus goes out, to help register the patients and keep the flow of patients going. They also need volunteers other days of the week to help with preparations, planning, paper work, newsletter stories, and website updates. If you would like to show your support for the work and the mission of this invaluable program, you can donate online at www.unitedfoundation.org. If you would like to volunteer with the team, please contact 5927 7285, WFL@unitedfoundation.org.
beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent Sally Wilson moved to Beijing in 2010 from the UK with her husband and son. Her daughter was born here in 2011 and both her kids keep her happily busy. In her spare time, Sally loves to stroll through Beijing’s hutongs and parks. She is a (most of the time) keen runner and loves reading: books, magazines, news, and celeb websites – anything really. Sally is also a bit of a foodie and loves trying out new restaurants.
Photos: North Charleston (Flickr) and courtesy of Wheels for Life