Breast cancer survivor urges women to get regular screenings and mammograms, thanks local non-profit ‘The Rose’

The first time Ediana Quijada found a lump in her breast, she was laughed off and told “it was happening because of her period and nothing to worry about.”

It was far from nothing. After a six-year battle with metastatic breast cancer, the cheerful Houston native is happy to share her story with other young women, advising regular breast exams, early detection having made a key difference in many cases.

In the fall of 2012, 29-year-old Ediana was finishing her construction management internship at the University of Houston.

The internship did not offer health insurance but UH hosts free mammography screenings in October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. However, when she told the nurses about her lump, they assured her, with a cursory glance, that she was too young to worry about cancer. She was sent away without a mammogram.

Reassured and a little abashed about being paranoid,

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Houston nonprofit The Rose determined to help uninsured women receive breast cancer treatment

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted millions of lives in many ways, one of which is the severe cut back in the number people keeping up with their routine checkups. Houston-based nonprofit group The Rose, which has been helping women receive breast cancer diagnoses and treatments for over 35 years regardless of their ability to pay, is determined not to give up on its mission.

Dorothy Gibbons, CEO and co-founder of The Rose, said the marked increase in the number of people putting off their mammograms was disastrous since early detection was the key to stopping cancer in most cases.

“We are conducting our screenings while observing social distancing,” said Gibbons. “We’re at 75 percent of what we normally would be doing. Some of our ladies are having to wait a bit to get their mammogram.”

The Rose operates two clinics in Houston and Bellaire respectively where women, insured or uninsured,

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Volunteers with Harvest of Hope prepare meals for Thanksgiving Day 2019. (Photo: Courtesy of Chase McKenna)

The year of 2020 has been a never ending saga of take, take, take. 

Health, income, graduations, concerts, weddings, holidays, birthdays, funerals. 

In between the losses, however, there have been people that stepped up to the challenge of giving more of themselves and their resources than ever before.

They held our community up with money, meals, masks, art, attention and love.

We saw that as parents rallied to collect graduation gifts for the class of 2020; as artists performed neighborhood pop-up concerts on traveling flatbed trucks; as restaurants served free meals to both first responders and families in need week after week. 

As the region battles the continuing spread of the novel coronavirus and grapples with the economic fallout of statewide

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