Motiva boosts battle against breast cancer

Published 11:06 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

With help from their friends.

That’s how the Julie Rogers Gift of Life Foundation gets by, year after year.

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The Gift of Life’s friend on Wednesday was Motiva Enterprises in Port Arthur, which since 2000 has sponsored a van site in Port Arthur, making free mammograms and clinical breast exams available to some 600 underserved women in the area.

More than 30 women were expected to be examined at the West Side Development Center in Port Arthur on Wednesday alone, and eight volunteers from Motiva were on hand to assist the Gift of Life staff.

Debora Scott, reassurance coordinator at Motiva, said she volunteers for the Gift of Life duty because her cousin, former Port Arthur schools administrator Winifred Frelove, was a breast cancer survivor who was among the Winners for Life effort that raised money for the foundation. Scott said the local group was active in raising awareness of breast cancer as well as in raising money.

Jody Martinez, business measurement manager at Motiva, said she’s volunteered every year “for quite a while.”

She said Arlene LeBlanc, who oversees corporate responsibility at the Motiva site, puts out the annual call for volunteers and she routinely steps up. While no one in Martinez’s family has suffered from breast cancer, she knows routine check-ups are important.

“For women who find out, one way of the other, it’s a relief to know. Now you’re tested, so there’s less stress from that,” she said.

Charlotte Simoneaux of Gift of Life said the van goes to Port Arthur and Beaumont 24 times a year, connecting with women who need exams but may not be able to afford care. Those whose exams come back as “abnormal” go to Baptist Hospital for diagnostic testing, again without cost.

“We do about 2,200 screenings a year,” Simoneaux said.

Gift of Life works to remove barriers for women who need exams and must choose, for example, between buying groceries or getting health care.

They’ve added interpreters — Spanish and Vietnamese — to make the process smoother, and seek the support of businesses and industries to help.

This year, the Gift of Life has expanded its offerings by enlisting the Port Arthur Health Department to deliver healthcare screenings, including blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol checks.

The Gift of Life and H-E-B will celebrate National Mammography Day from 2-6 p.m. Friday with a Halloween theme that includes a pumpkin patch, face painting, pink ice cream and treats giveaway and games. There will be a balloon release at 3 p.m. at the Gift of Life office, 2390 Dowlen Road, Beaumont.