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Women of the Moose to scare up funds for Bonnie’s Bus during Halloween-day fundraiser

BUCKHANNON – Save a little extra change this week and help the Women of the Moose change the lives and health of rural West Virginia women for the better.

This coming Saturday, Oct. 31, from 1 to 4 p.m., the Women of the Loyal Order of the Moose will be stationed in the parking of the Moose, located at 25 N. Kanawha Street holding pink buckets and hoping passersby will have some cash to spare.

Each year, the Women of the Moose raise money to contribute to Bonnie’s Bus, a mobile mammography unit operated through WVU Cancer Institute that zigzags across West Virginia to reach women in rural, outlying areas of the Mountain State. The bus serves not only women who have private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, but also provides mammograms for uninsured or under-insured women who qualify for the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program, according to its website.

In addition, women 40 or older who do not have health insurance may receive a screening mammogram on the bus, thanks to the funding of grants and donations, like the one the Women of the Moose is hoping to make.

Organizer and Women of the Moose member Sara Cutright Riffle said the group amassed $3,000 in donations in 2019, which paid for 19 mammograms for women in need of this vital health screening.

In the pre-COVID era, the Women of the Moose coordinated a wet T-shirt – or ‘he-shirt’ — contest for men, which included hanging balloons for purchase with tickets inside the bar. However, that’s a no-go this year due to COVID-19 physical/social distancing protocols.

“We even have a guy that’s 86 years old who participates,” Riffle said, laughing. “But with COVID, we can’t do that because we can’t have people too close together since we’re only able to be at half capacity. So, this year, we are going to be standing out in the parking lot with pink buckets collecting monetary donations.”

Riffle said this will mark the fourth year the Women of the Moose has orchestrated the Bonnie’s Bus fundraiser.

“Most of us have been affected with breast cancer in some way or another, whether it be ourselves or somebody in our family or one of our friends,” she said. “This is one of our favorite fundraisers to do because it hits home with a lot of us.”

Riffle said the drive-through fundraiser will be simple and easy.

“People won’t even have to get out of their cars,” she said. “We decided our parking lot would just be easiest since people can come in one end and go right out the other. It would be awesome if the community would pull together and help us raise money for this great cause.”

According to the WVU Cancer Institute, Bonnie’s Bus was created in honor of Bonnie Wells Wilson, the mother of Jo Statler, who died from breast cancer in a remote area of the state with no access to screening mammography.

“Bonnie’s Bus has a mission to provide breast cancer screening services to women in West Virginia, especially those in rural parts of the state with limited or no access to screening mammography,” the site explains.

Mammograms can improve health outcomes and long-term prognosis of women affected by breast cancer by detecting the presence of cancerous cells earlier.

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