A personal message from Debby Harrison:


Thanks to early detection, I am a survivor.

East Lansing resident, wife, and mother of three, grandmother 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 became a life-changing diagnosis.


A second opinion reaffirmed this: I had breast cancer.

Further investigation revealed that I had Stage 0 and
Grade 3 cancer cells. In 2010 after a lumpectomy, I began
my six-week radiation treatment at the Sparrow
Herbert-Herman Cancer Center.


You never think that it will happen to you.... until it does.

During the course of her treatment, Debby realized how fortunate she was to have been diagnosed early and decided she wanted to help other women in the community who didn’t have access to the same resources she had during her cancer journey.

Michael and Debby Harrison

Inspired by Dr. Jim Herman, Medical Director of the Sparrow Herbert-Herman Cancer Center, Debby and her husband Michael started the Deborah L. and Michael G. Harrison Mammography Endowment. Established in 2012, this endowment 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.


Every year since then, Debby has thrown herself a birthday party and invited friends who shared her passion for supporting other women and celebrating every year remaining cancer free. In lieu of receiving gifts,


Debby has officially been cancer free for nine years!


Gifts in honor of Debby - and all the women like her in our lives - will strengthen local, extraordinary care. As the Harrison Endowment grows, so too will the impact on women's breast health.


This year, Debby is also asking for gifts to honor the retirement of Radiologist Dr. Alfredo de La Fe, who provided thoughtful, expert care for so many cancer survivors.


“He was such a caring individual,” she said. “I felt safe, and I know so many others also felt that way.”


The Fund now totals more than $186,000 and continues to grow. For an update from Debby, click here.


To date, the Deborah L. and Michael G. Harrison Mammography Endowment supported projects and initiatives include:

  • Covering the cost of mammograms and follow-up care as needed for women in underserved communities who access care via the Sparrow Mobile Health Clinic. 
  • Assisting in the purchase of a Breast Specimen digital imaging machine in 2018 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.
  • Grants totaling more than $11,000 distributed in support of women’s health initiatives, including breast health education at community events. In fact, at a one-day event, free mammography screenings were provided to 16 women who were employed but uninsured. Of these women, three were called back for further review. Click here to read a story published by the Lansing State Journal.
  • Beautiful post-surgical wraps for all women who undergo mastectomies at Sparrow.
  • 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. This technology provides more detail and clarity, increasing breast cancer detection by 30-40%. 

The Deborah L. and Michael G. Harrison Mammography Endowment is the grateful beneficiary of support from:


Click here to read an update from Debby!