You never think that it will happen to you.... until it does.
East Lansing resident, and mother of three, Debby Harrison was in excellent health.
With no family history of breast cancer, Debby scheduled a proactive mammogram at Sparrow to stay ahead of the curve. With what should have been a routine mammogram came a life-changing diagnosis.
A second opinion confirmed the worst:
Debby had breast cancer.
Further investigation revealed that Debby had evidence of Stage 0 and Grade 3 cancer cells. After a lumpectomy, Debby began her six week radiation treatment with the Sparrow Cancer Center.
Thanks to early detection, Debby is a survivor.
During the course of her treatment, Debby realized how fortunate she was to have been diagnosed early, and decided that she wanted to help other women in the community who didn't have access to the same resources that she had during her cancer journey.
Inspired by Dr. Jim Herman, Medical Director of the Sparrow Cancer Center, Debby and her husband Michael started the Deborah L. and Michael G. Harrison Mammography Endowment just two years after her diagnosis. This endowment, established in 2012, provides permanent funding for breast cancer education and quality imaging care for all women of mid-Michigan. Debby's extraordinary generosity in establishing this designated fund is matched only by her passionate dedication to increasing education about the importance of mammograms.
Debby has officially been cancer free for FIVE YEARS!.
To celebrate each year of being cancer-free, Debby throws herself a birthday party. Of course, this isn’t just any birthday party, but one that helps ensure other women also have the opportunity to celebrate special occasions, like birthdays, cancer-free. In lieu of receiving birthday presents, Debby encourages gifts of any size to the Deborah L. and Michael G. Harrison Mammography Endowment at the Sparrow Foundation. As the Harrison Endowment grows, so, too, will the impact on women’s health.
Debby's 2015 birthday party raised more than $10,320.00 to grow her Endowment. For an update from Debby, please click here. This year, we will celebrate with Debby on her ACTUAL birthday.
For 2016, Women Working Wonders has generously agreed to match all donations made at Debby's birthday party, dollar for dollar up to $25,000!
To date, the Deborah L. and Michael G. Harrison Mammography Endowment supported projects and initiatives include:
- Assisting in the purchase of a Breast Specimen digital imaging machine, that cuts down on the wait time for results by approximately 15-20 minutes.
- The distribution of hundreds of pinkie rings to women; a constant reminder to have breast screening done annually.
- A one-day event, that provided free mammography screenings to 16 women who were employed but uninsured. Of these women, 3 were called back for further review.
- Beautiful post-surgical wraps for all women who undergo mastectomies at Sparrow.
- Grants totaling more than $11,000 distributed in support of women's health initiatives, and the funding of community breast health education at community events.
- Assisting in the purchase of a Selenia Dimensions mammography system with 3D breast tomosynthesis, which is the most cutting edge technology available for breast cancer screening, especially for those with dense or fatty breast tissue. The purchase of this machine will eliminate the need for these Patients to travel to Detroit or Grand Rapids for screening.
The Deborah L. and Michael G. Harrison Mammography Endowment is the grateful beneficiary of support from: