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Survivor Fundraises To Get Mammogram Machine For Rural Area

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(credit: CBS) Holly Wagner
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WINDOM, Minn. (WCCO) — In the calm countryside of southwest Minnesota, in a rustic home nestled in the hillside of Windom, Tammy Hall’s vivacious personality is a stark contrast from her serene surroundings.

“She’s one of the most upbeat people you’ll ever meet,” said her daughter Tyann Marcy.

Marcy said it’s her mom’s spirit that carried them through her mom’s battle with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer.

“It’s brought us all closer together. I always thought we were a close family. I can tell you this last Christmas was an emotional one,” said Marcy.

It was around this time last year when Hall found a lump.

“I felt a thickening in the side of my breast. I was in the shower. I was like, that doesn’t feel right,” said Hall. “My inner-voice said this is not right, Tammy go check that out.”

When she called the hospital in town to get a mammogram, she was told she would have to wait.

“Three weeks is a lifetime to wait,” said Hall.

The only access women in Windom have to a mammogram is a mobile unit that comes to town one day a week.

“There are times where you may want an appointment and you have to wait several weeks,” said hospital spokesperson Katie Slette.

Slette said they have a small budget and don’t have the money to buy the equipment they need.

After months of treatment and a double mastectomy, Hall decided she would do something about it.

“I told my doctor, you know what, something good is going to come out of this,” she said.

Marcy said, “Our biggest thing is we don’t want anyone to have to wait.”

They decided to raise money in hopes of helping other women in their town so they started “Make A Difference One Step At A Time By Walking,” a walk they’re hosting on Saturday, Oct. 15.

Hall and her daughter plan to keep fundraising until they have enough to buy new mammogram equipment for the hospital. They say while they can’t stop cancer, they can get the tools to fight it.

“I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing this for everybody else out there because early detection is so important,” said Hall.

Digital mammogram equipment costs from $200,000 to $400,000. The Windom Area Hospital also applied for a grant and they’re hoping to hear about it before the end of the year.

So far the women have raised $15,000 and they’re hoping the walk on Saturday will help bring in a lot more.

Hall is feeling well too and remains cancer free. She told us about a phrase she often used on her CaringBridge website:

“Remember to feel your boobies or those of someone you love.”

She learned a lot of times it’s the spouse who finds a lump and so she’s been making a point of passing that message along.

If you are interested in helping with fundraising or making a donation click here to go to the Windom Area Hospital website, or donations can be mailed to:

Windom Area Hospital Foundation
Attn:  Katie Slette
2150 Hospital Drive
PO Box 339
Windom, MN 56101

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