ROCK CAVE — West Virginia University Medicine’s Bonnie’s Bus visited Rock Cave October 28 and 29 to offer breast screenings for women in the area.
Bonnie’s Bus is a mobile mammography unit that travels throughout the state of West Virginia offering breast screening mammograms. The program was started by WVU Medicine’s J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital with a large donation from Jo and Ben Statler in memory of Jo’s mother, Bonnie Wells Wilson, who reportedly passed away from breast cancer. Wilson lived in a very rural area where making it to a mammogram appointment was harder than not going. Living so far away and not attending an appointment led to not discovering the cancer until it had spread throughout Wilson’s body.
After Wilson’s passing, the Statler’s donated to the Breast Care Center at Ruby Memorial Hospital to fund a program that would travel to those who either couldn’t afford the test or were unable to travel outside their communities to receive the screening for early detection of breast cancer. The program has maintained serving patients in need with the help of the Statler’s and donations made by other donors. Bonnie’s Bus has reportedly helped to significantly reduce the rate of unscreened women in the Mountain State.
In 2009, the first bus hit the road, screening roughly 389 women that year. Each year as the program grew, more and more locations reached out for a visit. In 2019, the bus preformed its 20,000th mammogram in Keyser, WV. Currently, that number has increased to roughly 24,000 screenings preformed.
While visiting Rock Cave this week, Bonnie’s Bus performed approximately 40 screenings for women in Upshur County. All 55 counties have been visited and continue to receive the outreach services as the bus begins its season mid-March. The two-person crew finishes their rounds by the beginning of December, only taking off for Thanksgiving.
“Being a part of the bus crew and helping women is extremely rewarding,” said Rick Maczko, driver and patient registrar for the bus.
The program partners with clinics like Tri-County and Community Care in Rock Cave to give women better access to early detection screenings. Any organization or clinic can apply for a visit from the mobile unit by corresponding with the Bonnie’s Bus office at (304) 293-2370. After concluding this visit Friday, the bus heads back to Morgantown for a crew switch and preparation for the next week.