Champions for Health

Virtual sunset 5k

Irma S. was a very active, hardworking, 56-year-old mother who worked in childcare and housekeeping and even recycled cans. “I was happy to do small jobs in order to make ends meet.” Her life changed when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2018, suffering from severe abdominal pain caused by an extremely large mass. She was admitted into the Emergency Department and had emergency surgery. Afterwards, Project Access helped Irma receive two rounds of chemotherapy and imaging services from IHS.

“My veins are tricky to find and access. They had become weak due to all the cancer medications and testing I received,” Irma S. shared with GB Magazine. Cancer changed Irma’s life forever. “I am very satisfied and grateful for Project Access because I am alive!” Champions for Health supports the most vulnerable in our community through Project Access San Diego and partners such as Imaging Healthcare Specialists (IHS). Project Access patients have received a full range of pro bono radiology services from IHS for over 10 years. Dr. Mark Schechter, an IHS interventional radiologist with over thirty years’ experience, performed a port placement procedure that Irma’s oncologist requested. This minimally invasive procedure, a proven alternative to surgery, allows the use of imaging to precisely guide therapy from inside the body.

“God bless all those who have been in my path to getting better. God bless the hands of all those who have helped me so that they can continue to help others like me,” Irma gratefully states. Although unable to work and dependent on her son as she slowly recovers, Irma shared, “I feel better right now as I am able to have a conversation. Some months ago, I was unable to speak because the cancer had spread to my lungs and stomach. I continue to feel fatigued and weak but remain with a positive attitude as I see improvement.”

Champions for Health is dedicated to providing access to critically needed healthcare for uninsured, low-income residents of San Diego County who would otherwise face insurmountable barriers to care. We recruit, mobilize, and support hundreds of volunteer physicians and other professionals to provide free
specialty healthcare.

Since 2008, Project Access has facilitated care for 6,500+ uninsured patients by providing 14,000 free consultations and 1,563 free surgeries – all thanks to the dedication, time and talent of our volunteer specialty healthcare physicians and healthcare professionals – this totals $20.5 million in pro-bono services to date. For every $1 spent on program expenses, we provide $10 in contributed healthcare services – a return on investment of 1000%.
For more information on how you can help our most vulnerable San Diegans , such as Irma, through Project Access, please contact Adama Dyoniziak (858) 300-2780. Join us in our virtual sunset 5k on August 22

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Esteban Villanueva