The idea of getting your mammogram may bring a few choice words to mind, and you would probably agree that “party” isn’t one of them. VPFW patient Tonya Blanton, however, would argue that it should be, and she is on a mission to encourage more women to get their annual screenings by encouraging them to participate in “mammo parties.”
Friends Don’t Let Friends Skip Mammograms
“The idea for this little gathering occurred to me in 2013 when I ran into a coworker while we were both waiting around to get our mammograms done,” Blanton explains. “The time went by a lot quicker since I had someone to chat with, so the next day when I returned to work, I told the ladies in my office about how my mammogram wasn’t so bad this time. That’s when one of them, who was well into her 40s, confessed that she had NEVER had a mammogram! I was pretty upset, so I told her that I would make the appointment for her and go with her. At this point, I guess I had gotten a little loud (who—me?!), and a couple more ladies from neighboring offices came to see what all of the hubbub was about. After I explained, another woman confessed that she in the same boat and was avoiding getting hers because of nerves!”
A Tradition Begins
This news about her coworkers refusing to get their mammograms was just too much for Blanton to handle. Nobody enjoys going, but the screening is too important to skip. So how could she improve how these women were approaching their appointments? Blanton called VPFW to see if they could work something out to help make their mammograms more of a social and fun experience instead of something to dread. VPFW was more than happy to accommodate them—making arrangements so that 10 women could come together after work, with the first appointment starting at 5:30 p.m.
“The ladies who agreed to work late for us made sure we had a good time,” exclaims Blanton. “They even had refreshments for us! We took pictures, chatted, and ate while we all took turns getting our mammograms done”
That first-time “mammo party” is now a tradition for Blanton and company. “We always wear our homemade pink t-shirts, which gets us a lot of stares when we go out to eat—we secretly love the attention. The very first year, the two women who had never had a mammogram wore black t-shirts, but they’ve since graduated to pink! The VPFW crew always greets us with little gift baskets, and they graciously stay late for us to make sure we are taken care of. We really love and appreciate them!”
The group of women also now arrive for their annual event on a party bus, and they make it a point to treat themselves to a wonderful meal after they’re done at VPFW. We are honored that they’ve chosen Virginia Physicians for Women as their trusted partners in women’s health, and we look forward to hosting their mammo parties for years to come! Thank you Tonya for leading the way in inspiring women to follow health guidelines and make those appointments!
Schedule Your Own Party
All women over the age of 40 should receive a mammogram every year. If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, then you should receive your first mammogram ten years prior to the age at which your family member was diagnosed.
If you are interested in scheduling your own mammo party with your friends, family, or coworkers, or if you would like to schedule an individual appointment please let us know! For parties, just keep in mind that your health insurance may only cover a mammogram once a year, so make sure you and your girlfriends are on the same schedule! Parties are an especially good option for women who haven’t received a mammogram before or who are a little overdue for one. Call us today at 804-897-2100 ext. 1789! We’d love to host you!