Mammography drive off to fast start


Whidbey News-Times columnist

The ballroom fell silent as Gaye Litka stepped to the mic. Joining her onstage at the Elks Club before a packed house were Peggy Whitford, Kathy Wagoner and Sally Maylor, sister Soroptimists of Oak Harbor.

Their message was one of caution and hope.

“I want to share some good news that’s happening in our club,” Litka began. “We are here because we believe the women on North Whidbey deserve to have access to the finest mammography equipment available.”

There are currently two mammography machines on Whidbey Island, one at Whidbey General South and one at Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville. The hospital capital budget paid for one; the second came from a large donation from the Sebo family.

Their goal is that one day women in Oak Harbor won’t have to wait so long for a mammogram. To that end, the Soroptimists are spearheading a community-wide campaign to raise $240,000 needed to buy this equipment for the clinic on North Goldie Road.

Litka asked members of Soroptimists of Oak Harbor to stand. “They are committed to this cause. They care about our women and girls and we believe this project suits them very well.

“In six short weeks, we have raised $100,000, and we have received just wonderful community support in donations from local businesses and individuals.”

Unforgettable images of women who have breast cancer, who’ve survived or lost a loved one, silently moved across a screen. There was no narration in Jim Riney’s production. None was needed. He let a simple piano and soulful saxophone, played by a survivor, set the mood.

To date, The Oak Harbor Soroptimists have pledged $20,000, plus $30,000 from the Whidbey General Hospital Commissioners and $35,000 from the Hospital Foundation from proceeds of the September 2008 Tour de Whidbey.

Kari Holmly of Whidbey Island Bank stepped forward with a pledge card for $2,500. Wallgren-Les Schwab Tires’ Kenny McGuire matched it with their pledge for $2,500.

Whidbey News-Times Publisher Marcia Van Dyke said, “We plan to donate fully half of all subscriptions sold in a subscription drive coming up in March.”

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