TAMPA (FOX 13) - Debbie Turmel is back in the room where time stood still at the Kay Meyer Breast Center at Florida Hospital Tampa, looking at a mammogram that picked up something suspicious: a lump.
A lump she says she almost didn't get checked out.
"I was anxious. I was nervous. I went worst case scenario in my head. I was without insurance due to some unfortunate circumstances and I didn't know where to turn. I saw you on TV and thought, 'She's been through this and maybe she can help me,'" Turmel told me.
I referred Debbie to the Florida Hospital Tampa's Breast Care Center - where I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Kay Meyer, a local philanthropist who has donated money to the breast care center, explains how the center can help women like Debbie.
"Florida Hospital Tampa has uninsured programs and the foundation of the hospital has programs set up to help people who have been diagnosed or may be having problems," Meyer said.
Every year since my surgery there, I've donated money to their foundation through the Silver Dollar Shooter's Club's Shoot for a Cure fundraiser.
Manager Bill Miller runs the charity event.
"We get the men involved. Also, make them wear pink shirts, and they come out and have a great time," Miller said.
Bill asked me to emcee and offered to donate the proceeds to a charity of my choosing.
He says, "Our first tournament, we raised about two thousand dollars and its grown every year. This year we bring a check for $20,000."
But I, like many of you, have wondered if the money donated actually helps locals in our community. So when Debbie reached out, I asked her to follow up with me and was happy to learn the Florida Hospital Breast Center did give her a mammogram and biopsy.
Debbie says, "In my case, the mammogram was totally free. The biopsy, lab fees were all free. I'll come back in six months and get a follow-up."
Even better - that biopsy showed the lump was not cancer.
"I definitely think people put things off because of lack of insurance and lack of funds. Don't put it off," she said.
For information on the free or reduced mammogram, just call the Kay Meyer Breast Care Center funding line which is an answering machine for those to have someone directly follow up with them. It’s in English and Spanish 813-615-7872.
For donations to the Florida Hospital Tampa Foundation, visit https://www.floridahospital.com/tampa/foundation.
To attend next year's Shoot for a Cure event, visit https://www.facebook.com/silverdollartrap/.