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RAYMONDVILLE – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
However, at Raymondville Independent School District, administrators and principals and staff became acutely aware of this back in June.
That’s when Benjamin Clinton, deputy superintendent/special programs director, realized that many of the district’s employees had been unable to get mammograms.
“Some of our employees had had some troubles getting mammograms scheduled,” he said. “It was tough for them to get in, and there was a kickback who would be able to see them, when they could get in.”
More specifically, many couldn’t get mammograms until October, which pretty much violates the axiom about early detection.
And then there was the cost, which was almost $500.
Clinton began exploring the situation more completely and was “shocked” to learn that one in eight women will have breast cancer at some point in their lives. With 70% of Raymondville ISD employees being women, this was a serious situation.
“We’ve got women who the majority are the age they need to start having screening mammograms, and that’s why we had to do something,” he said.
The district reached out and formed a partnership with Baaxten Imaging in Harlingen. The company agreed to set aside specific Saturdays when Raymondville ISD employees could get mammograms for only $150.
“We had two Saturdays, one in July and one in August, and we ended up doing about 70 3D mammograms for our employees,” Clinton said. “Baaxten gave us a great deal on it and they’ve got the 3D screening and to me that was important.”
Administrators across the district hailed the initiative.
“I feel very thankful to work in a district that exhibits and expresses devotion to its employees,” said Camille Cavazos, principal at LC Smith Elementary.
Supertindent Stetson Roane commended the “teamwork we displayed this summer to look out for the health and well-being of our female staff.
“Our decision to set up mammogram appointments isn’t just about showing our dedication to their welfare, but it also highlights our values of inclusivity and care,” he said. “It reflects the close-knit community we have at our school and our strong commitment to fostering a culture of well-being and proactive healthcare.”