Partners For Life

Longtime patient teams with MMC's Wilentz Breast Center in Howell to spread message of good health.

Sharon ComireMAMMOGRAPHY IS WIDELY recognized as the gold standard in detecting breast cancer. But despite its benefits, many women feel that going for a mammogram can be very stressful. For Jackson resident and mother of two Sharon Comire, a lot of her stress about making and keeping her mammography appointments has been nearly eliminated by the exceptional experience she continues to have at Monmouth Medical Center's Jacqueline M. Wilentz Breast Center.

"All of the staff is great," says Sharon, who has been a patient at the Wilentz satellite center in Howell for nearly five years. "Everyone is so positive and helpful, from the doctors and technicians to the receptionists. I always feel comfortable and welcome."

Like any mother, between pickups from school and homework projects, time is very valuable to her. Fortunately, the Wilentz Center has always respected her time too. "I have never had to wait for my appointment, and that sounds like such a small thing, but it's refreshing to have your time valued as much as everyone else's."

In fact, getting her regular breast screenings at the Howell Wilentz Center has been such a pleasant experience that she wanted to spread the word. Like so many, Sharon knows many people whose lives have been affected by breast cancer, and she wanted to do something to help and to raise awareness about the importance of regular screenings.

Sharon works as a Zumba instructor and has used that as a platform to help educate women on the importance of regular screenings. She hosts a yearly breast cancer awareness fund-raiser where proceeds from her Zumba class go to breast cancer research. She has even partnered with the center to co-host her annual event and provide her clients with the most up-to-date information on breast health, screening options, and prevention. In addition to information, the Wilentz Center also provided goodies like pens, pads and other office supplies. At the event, pink cupcakes and pink hair extensions were sold, and there was even a manicurist painting pink nails with breast cancer decals. This past Zumba fund-raiser alone raised more than $2,000 for breast cancer research.

What made the program even more remarkable was that right then and there, decked in pink and ready for Zumba, each woman was given the opportunity to book an appointment for their yearly screening at the Wilentz center. Sharon estimates that through her fund-raisers, more than 40 women signed up to make their screening appointments. She is proud of the success of her Zumba events. Establishing a pattern of annual mammography is one of the best ways to take an active role in maintaining good breast health, and her event along with the help from the Wilentz staff helped do that for countless other women.

"The Jacqueline M. Wilentz Comprehensive Breast Center at Monmouth Medical Center's Long Branch campus opened in 1994 to bring together, under one roof, all preventive, diagnostic, treatment, rehabilitation, psychosocial and educational services for women concerned about their breast health," says Bill Arnold, president and CEO at Monmouth Medical Center. "Since that time, we have expanded to several satellite facilities to increase access to screening mammography, and the opening of this newest Wilentz location allows us to offer western Monmouth County residents convenient access to screening mammography services in a comfortable and compassionate setting."

Thankfully, Sharon has never had to use any of the expanded services, but she finds it comforting to know that all of the services to maintain good breast health are offered under one roof in several convenient locations. That includes the main breast center at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch and satellite locations that, in addition to Howell, incorporates Colts Neck and Lakewood to increase access to care closer to home for patients.