DES MOINES, Iowa – Purchasing a card to send on International Women’s Day could help save lives by raising money for a free mammogram program. 

Mammograms are essential when it comes to fighting breast cancer. It’s recommended that all women 40 years and older get one each year.

“Scientifically proven, 40 is the number to start at because that’s when we can make a difference in your life,” Dr. Jill Westercamp, with Iowa Radiology, said. “We can’t stop cancer from coming but if we catch it early, we can do much better curing it.”

John Stoddard Cancer Center has a program called “Pink Days,” where free mammograms are offered to uninsured or underinsured women ages 40 or older. Right now, the need for the program is great.

“Both for reasons of say losing jobs and now no longer having insurance but also lots of screenings got put off during the pandemic,” Gina Mandernach, oncology outreach coordinator at UnityPoint Health, said. “And so now people are returning to screening and just knowing they have to get back in.”

The EmpowHER fundraiser is hoping to raise $30,000 for the program. It’s selling art prints for $15. You can buy one to send to a friend or family member on International Women’s Day on March 8. Organizers say there are several reasons to take part.

“One it supports local artists, so all of the artists donate their artwork,” Katie Hart, co-founder of the fundraiser, said. “Two it supports women. It goes right here in Central Iowa to a program that is needed in Des Moines. And then three is something that you really can’t measure, and that is my favorite part which is the joy spread on International Women’s Day.” 

You can purchase prints in the fundraiser through March 2 by clicking here

To register or see if you qualify for the “Pink Days” free mammogram program, click here.