Boa Mania raises funds for women’s health

Pink feathers were flying during Thursday evening’s Boa Mania, a fundraiser benefiting Elk Regional Medical Center’s Women’s Health Department. Starr Hill Winery in downtown St. Marys hosted the all-pink event, which featured pink boas, beads, flowers, balloons, bows, shirts and beverages. Organizers Betsy Herbstritt and Barb Schatz said between 70-80 people attended the free event, which was open to the general public.“We were trying to think of a fun event to raise awareness and funds for women’s health and this came up,” said Schatz, who also works in ERHC’s radiology department. Much of the funding will help purchase supplies and equipment necessary for use with the hospital’s digital mammography unit.She added the event is aimed at “hoping for a cure, honoring loved ones and celebrating survivors.”All proceeds from items sold and activities at the event, including cookies, hand-painted wine glasses, a ticket auction and door prizes, as well as $1 from each bottle of wine purchased, were donated to the cause.Bows For a Cure were also sold at the event. Patrons had the choice of taking the $5 outdoor light pink ribbons home or leaving them for display at the store. Many patrons listed the names of breast cancer victims and survivors on the bows, which were tied to a white metal archway. Each attendee received a complimentary pink rose provided by Goetz’s Flower Shop.As part of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ERHC recently announced that its Digital Mammography Unit earned accreditation through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American College of Radiology. In addition, the unit earned a deficiency-free review by the Mammography Quality Standards Act.The unit opened in July 2009, when ERHC became the first hospital in the region to offer state-of-the-art digital mammography. “We’ve taken a big step by going from film mammography to digital. And when it comes to mammography, our patients can take comfort in the fact that they have access to cutting-edge, state-of-the-art care,” said Jill Holtzhauser, lead mammography technician. “We were told that we are doing an exemplary job.”The hospital’s mammography department is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is located in the Women’s Imaging Department inside the Medical Office Building next to the hospital. Appointments may be scheduled by contacting 788-5444.“Our Digital Mammography Unit offers the absolute best in cutting-edge care to women in our area,” said Greg Bauer, Elk Regional Health System president and CEO. “Women can feel confident and secure when they come to us for their care.”As part of digital mammography, technicians are provided with clear and precise images within 10 seconds, approximately half the time of traditional film mammography. If a second opinion is required, the image may be sent electronically to a consulting physician instantaneously.The unit’s full-field system provides the largest view available, which is an asset that is helpful in imaging patients of diverse shapes and sizes. Radiologists are able to manipulate the digital image, adjusting for size, brightness and contrast in order to view areas of interest more clearly.In addition, digital mammography uses a much lower radiation dose than standard film, reduces breast compression pressure and offers improved breast detection rates.ERHC received $100,000 in state funding and $85,000 in grants from the A.J. and Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust to purchase the equipment.