A new mammography machine that can reduce callback rates and detect breast cancer sooner is on the horizon for St. Catherine Hospital after its Power of Pink campaign aiming to raise money for the machine recently secured its campaign goal.

“In October, we kicked off the Power of Pink campaign, and our goal was to raise $200,000, which would go to our new 3D tomosynthesis mammography machine,” Heather Wright-Renick, director for the Breast Center at St. Catherine Hospital said, said on Thursday. “It’s the best breast imaging option available.”

Wright-Renick said the hospital’s current machine is only 2D, so patients only see two views. The new machine offers a third view and reduces a patient’s callback rate by 40 percent, she said.

“It’s detecting cancer earlier than ever before,” she said of the machine the cancer center soon will acquire. “Yes, you still have to have a mammogram, that requires your breast to be compressed. It’s still the same process, the difference is that you have a better image… The next closest one will be in Hays or Pratt, so we’ll be able to serve this whole area.”

Lisa Beggs, a nurse navigator at the Breast Center, said the new machine also will be able to perform biopsies.

“It’s actually a $425,000 machine, but St. Catherine Hospital’s capital campaign has committed to covering ($225,000) what we don’t raise,” Wright-Renick said.

Unlike most campaigns, where funds are collected primarily through donations, the Power of Pink campaign, which began Oct. 19 and had a Dec. 31 deadline for fundraisers, raised funds in another way.

Thirteen teams — two from Cimarron, one from Ulysses and 10 from Garden City — made up the campaign through their efforts and had various events and sales fundraisers.

“Each team was charged with figuring out a way to raise the $200,000. They could do it however they wanted, whether it was through selling stuff or through fundraisers or through personal donations,” Wright-Renick said.

Fundraising efforts included events at various local restaurants, a chili feed, a glow run, bake sales, Power of Pink T-shirt sales, and area high school sports teams held fundraisers, as well.

Paige Kraus, stewardship coordinator for St. Catherine Hospital, said that collectively, there were over 30 events in every shape and form that made up the campaign fundraising.

“Another one was a group of women in the community who made a calendar that featured not-for-profit organizations that give back to the community that you could purchase,” she said. “We just thought that was a great idea. It showcased other organizations that have other great causes, as well.”

Kraus said it was important to get people from the surrounding communities involved, as well as people who have a tie to cancer, or a reason for breast cancer detection/prevention.

“Each team kind of has it’s own story or tie to the cause, as well, and that’s what really made it cool,” she said. “It was like a grassroots effort of the community and the businesses and everyone surrounding this. That’s the only way it got done in a two-month period.”

A large donation was made in December, which ultimately helped the campaign reach its goal. Wright-Renick said a gentleman made the donation in honor of his mother as a birthday present for her.

“It was a very significant donation that made our goal achievable,” Kraus said. “He wanted to get us whatever it took to get to our goal… There’s nothing like the power of passionate people. When they believe in a cause, they can do great things.”

Wright-Renick said the motto of the campaign was “many hands lighten the load”.

“Raising $200,000 in such a short time period kind of seems daunting, but then again, break it down.,” Wright-Renick said. “St. Catherine Hospital serves 22 counties, so for us to raise money for a 3D tomosynthesis mammography machine, it’s not just going to benefit Garden City, it’ going to benefit the 22 counties around us, as well as those people.”

Wright-Renick, who is a breast cancer survivor, said she and others who took part in the campaign expected they would reach the $200,000 goal in the 10-week period.

“We’re not going to set a goal that I don’t think we’re going to get. I would like to say that we could raise $425,000, but I don’t want to set us up for failure. I wanted it to be achievable,” she said. “I knew it would take some hard work. We’ve said that this was the longest October ever because it’s been nonstop. For the last 10 weeks, we’ve really been just go go go go go… I really did think we could do $200,000 in 10 weeks, and we did.”

Hospital officials are still working out the details on when the state of the art machine will arrive and be of use at the facility.

“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes things that have to happen, so we do not have an exact timeline, but as soon as we do, we’ll spread the word,” Wright-Renick said.

The hospital is still taking donations beyond the $200,000 that will continue to go toward the new machine.

“There’s been a lot of people who put in a lot of hard work to make that happen, and we want that to continue… For a $425,000 machine, every little bit counts,” Wright-Renick said. “We believe in the power of pink. If it wasn’t for us having such strong support from a bunch of people who are passionate about it, too, we wouldn’t have achieved it.”

Those interested in donating can do so by visiting https://chif.catholichealth.net/SCK/pop.

Contact Josh Harbour at jharbour@gctelegram.com.