Christine Hull // BRAvo!
Christine (Chris) Hull spent ten years in health care, serving others in the community, but following significant health issues of her own, she was unable to continue working. Three years later, she found herself at the Wayne County Health Department for a well check with Physician Assistant Amber Hibbert.
“Amber looked at me and said, ‘There is a gap in your chart. You haven’t had a mammogram for three years – why?’”, Christine said. She then explained she couldn’t afford one and did not have insurance. “Amber said, ‘Hello? There are free mammograms at Reid!’” Amber proceeded to set up the appointment for Chris, and said, “You have no choice but to go!”
That day, there were no noticeable lumps in Chris’ breast, but she agreed to the screening. “Because Amber set up the mammogram, I sucked it up and did it,” Chris said. With the BRAvo! fund through Reid Foundation, Chris was able to receive a no cost community benefit mammogram… and it would save her life.
When Chris arrived at Reid’s Breast Center, staff immediately treated her with care, which comforted her during the screening and later a biopsy. “Lori Golliher (radiology technologist) patted my shoulder and talked to me. She was very calming – just right for that moment.”
Then the news came. “I can still hear the doctor’s voice telling me it was cancer,” Chris said. “It was surreal.”
Surgeon Dr. Brad Barrett discussed options with Chris, but due to her family history, she chose to have a double mastectomy. The next few months were challenging, but Chris knew she was in good hands. She finished the first surgery and began hormone therapy as well as plans for reconstruction.
Soon Chris changed her focus to helping others and making a difference. Relay for Life was her first opportunity. She approached that weekend with a renewed perspective. “The survivor lap was one of the most powerful things I have ever experienced in my life,” Chris said.
Chris now spreads the word about the importance of mammogram screenings. “If I can get information to even one lady and save her life, it will be worth it – the more the better!” she said.
“I didn’t know about BRAvo!, but it saved my life,” she said. “I will now live to see my grandchildren.”
The BRAvo! fund helped nearly 500 women receive mammogram screenings last year who would not have otherwise. Some were diagnosed and their lives potentially saved through the generous donations of others.