BUCKHANNON — The local Women of the Moose need your help raising funds for Bonnie’s Bus this Saturday. Every October, the ladies pull together with other Moose members and the community to raise money for the mobile mammography program.
With the lodge only permitted to operate at half capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, organizer Sara Riffle said fundraising has been somewhat difficult this year. In hopes of closing their efforts out strong, the WOTM will be collecting donations in pink buckets at the Buckhannon Moose Lodge for their “Bonnie’s Bus Drive-Thru Fundraiser” on Saturday, October 31 from 1-4:00 p.m. Riffle stated, “We really hope the community will step up and help us raise money for a good cause.”
Last year, the WOTM raised $3,000 that provided 19 mammograms to women in need. They are also currently selling raffle tickets for a Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License valued at $805 to contribute to Moose Charities. The tickets can be purchased from Moose members at $5 each or five for $20.
“Most of us have either been affected ourselves or someone close to us has been, so this really hits home with all of us,” Riffle explained, as to why the cause is so dear to their hearts. Having personally utilized the services provided by Bonnie’s Bus herself in the past, Riffle added, “It really takes a lot of stress off someone who doesn’t have insurance.”
Jenny Ostien, Director of Mobile Screening, explained that the Bonnie’s Bus program provides screening mammograms in rural areas across the state, targeting women who may not otherwise have access. “We try to take the screening to them to make it more accessible,” Ostien stated. The bus primarily screens women over the age of 40 who are under or uninsured. She said no West Virginia woman over 40 is ever turned away, and they secure grants and community donations, like those from the WOTM lodge, to pay for the services. Ostien emphasized, “Every penny helps; no donation is too small. We are very appreciative of all their fundraising efforts.”
Bonnie’s Bus typically screens approximately 2,500 West Virginia women per year, but that number is lower this year due to COVID-19. “Since we started in 2009, we have identified over 110 cases of breast cancer. Last year in 2019, we discovered 20 alone, and those are cases that may not have been detected as early, if at all, if we hadn’t gone out to those communities,” Ostien explained.
The screening mammograms on Bonnie’s Bus are provided at no cost to qualifying patients and they even can even help facilitate further referrals when requested. More information can be found on their website wvucancer.org/bonnie and the Bonnie’s Bus Facebook page.