Orange County

Russell Home hosts first mobile mammogram event for residents

ORLANDO, Fla. — Since it opened its doors in 1951, the Russell Home has seen thousands of visitors and hosted countless events and activities for its special residents.

But the facility marked a first on Tuesday.

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Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation partnered with The Women’s Center for Radiology to bring its Mobile Mammogram Unit to the home and offer a dozen women who live there their first mammograms.

Director Betty Russell said the bus coming to them — instead of the women going to a facility — was crucial.

READ: Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Risk factors you can and can’t control

“A lot of our children and adults have white coat syndrome... petrified to walk into a doctor’s office setting,” Russell said.

For years, studies have shown this population faces challenges with health care outside the scope of their special needs.

READ: Fact checking 9 myths about breast cancer

Other barriers include not being able to schedule an appointment and a lack of transportation.

The result: Adults with special needs typically have lower cancer-screening rates, making it more likely their cancer will be found later when it’s harder to treat.

READ: 5 facts about genetics testing for breast cancer

“They mean the world to us... deserve to be protected and be screened,” Russell said.

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Nancy Alvarez

Nancy Alvarez, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team in May 2010 and am currently co-anchor of Eyewitness News This Morning alongside Jamie Holmes.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.