This ‘n That — another chapter in her legacy…

— Whilst roaming around Stater Bros a couple days ago, I met up with Margarita Chapman. Margarita is Executive Director for the Ridgecrest office of Creating Healthy Lives. Florence (AKA Grams) started lobbying Margarita a couple years ago to apply for a grant to provide free breast cancer screening, including mammograms, for women who didn’t have insurance and otherwise couldn’t afford the costs.

— Creating Healthy Lives is a nonprofit organization []  and had already establised a grant for prostate cancer screening. Grams figured breast cancer screening should fit right alongside. CHL’s mission statement is, after all, “To reduce the pain and costs associated with preventable illnesses by promoting and providing affordable comprehensive health screenings and health events followed by meaningful health and wellness guidance to inspire action, provide access to low-wage earners, and enhance the quality of life in the Indian Wells Valley.”

— At first Margarita balked. The potential client numbers didn’t seem high enough. Very little money appeared to be available and it seemed to be aimed at other uses. Like a puppy after a sock, Grams persisted. Finally, Margarita gave in. She said it this way, “Florence came to me with her steadfast belief that I can and SHOULD do this.”

— In a letter dated January 15, 2008, to The Women Helping Others Foundation, Margarita wrote, “I wish to wholeheartedly thank you for your generous grant award of $30,500.” She went on to write, “I would also like to honor a friend and long-term Ridgecrest resident Florence Wilson, for “pushing” me out of my comfort zone and finding ways to add affordable mammography tests to our existing preventative health screening program.”

— At Stater Bros, Margarita told me that because of Grams persistence, more than 100 women in the Indian Wells Valley who might otherwise have never been screened, were. She added that another grant is on the way and that the program will continue. 

Florence Wilson
Florence Wilson

In case you are wondering what this is all about, Florence became a volunteer for the American Cancer Society in 1986, shortly after her first diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. She died October 4, 2008, two years after beginning her second fight against the disease. In those 20+ years as an ACS volunteer, she helped hundreds of women cope with breast cancer. This was just one chapter of the legacy she left us.