Published on May 20, 2008 in the Antrim Review
(Archived version available at www.antrimreview.net)
By Melissa Lee
Currently there are over 400 women in Antrim County who qualify to get free mammograms through the Antrim County High Tea for Breast Cancer Prevention program, and co-founder Dee Lynch, of Bellaire, intends to make sure that every single one of those women gets one.
A volunteer national spokesperson for breast cancer awareness since losing her daughter, Susan, to the disease in 1996, Lynch co-founded the High Tea in 2004 after retiring from a career in education in Ann Arbor and moving to the shores of Clam Lake. Most of her time since then has been dedicated to the fundraising efforts of the group, which annually raises many thousands of dollars to provide free breast exams to the uninsured and underinsured.
“I can’t walk away,” Lynch said. “The need is just so great.”
A golf tournament planned in conjunction with Shanty Creek Resorts in early June, one of several fundraisers to be held this year, will assist that effort. “Because of the high volume of qualified women in Antrim County this year, the High Tea had to “get aggressive” in our activities this summer to be able to continue to provide the mammograms at no cost,” the Forest Home resident explained.
The first annual “Golf for Breast Cancer Prevention”, will be held on June 2, with six other events scheduled between now and September.
One person who may have had her life saved through the free breast exams, which the High Tea purchases for $50 each through a partnering project with Munson Medical Center, is Jeannie Iser of Mancelona.
Iser was one of the women who got her free mammogram about a year ago, and then, devastating news. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and is currently undergoing treatment.
“Dee has stood behind me 100 percent through everything,” Iser said of the High Tea program, which places newly diagnosed breast cancer patients without adequate medical insurance into a state-funded Health Department program.
Lynch is also concerned about all of the 400 people out there, and maybe many more, who still have not been able to take advantage of the breast cancer prevention program. Working with the state, the High Tea sent out 1,187 postcards to women throughout the county earlier this year advising them of the opportunity for a free mammogram and included a phone number to contact the health department. More than 400 women called-and that’s just those who received a post card or saw one of the billboards the group leased recently.
Which proved to Lynch and her volunteers the huge need, which is growing daily along with the poor economy.
The June 2 tournament, a four person scramble, will be held at Shanty Creek’s Legend Golf Course. Prizes will be awarded for low gross, longest drive, closest to pin and longest putt. The biggest prize, however, is coming from local dentist Brian Rathke who is sponsoring a hole-in-one prize of $5,000. “Dr. Rathke understands the need for what we are doing,” Lynch said of his donation.
Registration for the outing begins at 8 a.m. at Arnie’s Grill with coffee, juice and pastries for golfers, with a shotgun start is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tickets are $80 per person or $320 per team. Anyone interested in participating is asked to call Dee Lynch at 377-7077 or Coleen Rison at Shanty Creek at 533-8621 ext. 4298.