Helping women with preventive cancer care
Tracy sits nervously in the waiting room, fidgeting with the Boys Life magazine she forgot to leave in the lobby. Awaiting results from a biopsy is always terrifying, but for Tracy, today was especially difficult.
“I had a mammogram done in May. They detected something that wasn’t quite right – before I was homeless. I didn’t have the money for follow-up, and then I became homeless.”
Tracy started living on the streets of Salt Lake once her relationship proved too toxic. When homeless, people become too preoccupied with finding a safe place to stay or food to eat – taking health problems off their priority list. Tracy hadn’t seen anyone since her mammogram in May, and it was getting tough to push that out of her mind.
With her family having a long history of cancer – a sister who died of breast cancer, another sister who had a mastectomy and her mother and grandmother who were both diagnosed with different types of cancer – Tracy understood that she was at high-risk. But without the means for returning for a follow-up after her first mammogram, she tried her best to ignore the problem; until she scheduled a visit at Fourth Street Clinic, where she coordinated her biopsy. The results? Negative. And she couldn’t feel more relieved.
Now Tracy has gotten a bed at the nearby shelter and landed a job on the Green Team through Wasatch Community Gardens, harvesting lettuce and other food for winter. She works four to five hours a day then heads to women’s classes that teach her life skills such as building a resume and developing her talents.
“Everything’s great. I think Fourth Street is great.”