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VINTON, IA, – The Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation is launching a new initiative to raise funds in support of women’s health in Benton County. The “Round Up for Hope” campaign will be collecting change by encouraging customers to round their transactions up to the nearest dollar amount. Donations will fund the VGHHCF program, Gifts of Hope.

Retailers participating in this inaugural “Round Up for Hope” event include Cameron’s Clothing, Fareway, Henkle Creek Mercantile, John’s Qwik Stop and Unique Metal Artwork by June Stein. Fareway will be taking donations from October 21 through 31 with the other four retailers participating in the “Round Up for Hope” throughout the entire month of October.

Owner, Karilea Ries and VGHHCF Director, Robin Martin discuss the new Round Up for Hope campaign. Both businesses owned by Ries, Cameron’s Clothing Company and Henkle Creek Merchantile, will be participating in the October initiative to raise funds for the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation’s Gifts of Hope Fund.

Gifts of Hope provides free mammograms and diagnostic services to Benton County residents who need financial assistance. The program helps to pay for fees like clinic visits and co-pays along with diagnostics such as mammograms, pap tests, pelvic exams and the analysis of those tests needed to help determine the next steps in treatment. The fund assists those who have no insurance; have a health insurance policy that does not pay for these services; and those who are unable to pay deductible or co-insurance amounts.

Sharon Happel has received assistance from the fund. “Learning about the Gifts of Hope program was a Godsend. Some of the financial worries that come with a cancer diagnosis were eased. No matter how great your insurance is, there are always things that aren’t covered-like deductibles and some testing. Gifts of Hope helped bridge that gap, and I am very grateful!

No application is necessary to utilize these funds. Patients are encouraged to talk to their Virginia Gay Family Medical Clinics provider who will make the arrangements for them.

Each year, the VGHHCF distributes more than $20,000 to support women’s health in Benton County. Community support and generosity allows the organization to expand the number of patients receiving assistance and ensures that everyone in our area has access to 3D mammography and diagnostic services.

“We are grateful to our community for their generosity. It’s allowed us the opportunity to help several of our friends, family, and neighbors who have been in need. We know with your help, we can do more,” says Robin Martin, VGHHCF director. “With the support and assistance of our local retail partners, we are optimistic we can increase the Gifts of Hope fund through this year’s “Round Up for Hope” campaign. We also want to spread the word on the importance of regular screenings like mammograms in the fight against cancer. Take your primary care provider’s recommendation on what is best for you.”

About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer throughout her lifetime. And, about 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. Screening with mammograms is key to finding breast cancer early before any symptoms can develop. At that point, cancer usually is easier to treat.

Direct donations to the Gifts of Hope fund can also be made online at bit.ly/give_vghhcf. To learn more about the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation and other programs it sponsors and supports, please visit www.myvghfoundation.org or contact Robin Martin by phone (319) 472-6375 or by email at rmartin@vghinc.com.