Charitable health clinic offers free breast cancer exams for low-income women

Gennesaret Free Clinic sponsors free mammograms

INDIANAPOLIS - For the uninsured, a cancer diagnosis could seem like a death sentence, but it doesn't have to be.

One Indianapolis woman who was diagnosed seven years ago is now helping low-income women battling cancer become survivors.

Lisa Hayes heads the Gennesaret Free Clinic which sponsors free mammograms at homeless shelters and food pantries.

Hayes said she knows how stressful battling cancer can be on a low income because she was out of a job and uninsured when she was diagnosed.

"I found a lump and I initially tried to ignore it because money was tight," Hayes said. "But, through Komen funds, Little Red Door and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, for the most part, my expenses were paid."

Like Little Red Door, the Gennesaret Free Clinic relies heavily on volunteers and major grants made possible by the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

"Our program is about removing barriers. We want to remove the barrier of cost, we want to remove the barrier of inconvenience, transportation. So, whatever barrier is there that might prevent a woman from getting a screening or service, we want to take that away," Hayes said.

Cordia Thompson is uninsured and lives on disability checks. She said that until she found the Gennesaret Free Clinic, she couldn't afford yearly exams.

"I used to never go to the doctor, but as I got older, I figured I better start doing it," Thompson said.

After a free breast check and mammogram, she was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

"I never thought I'd end up with something like that. It was scary," she said.

Thompson said linking up with Hayes has helped her have a support system when times get tough.

"She's my best friend. She has really helped me," Thompson said.

The Gennesaret Free Clinic is open to women every Friday. To make an appointment, call 317-639-5645 or click here for more information.

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