A Gift of Life

Liz Shumway, Ketchum local, ski instructor extraordinaire and personal assistant, knows how to keep everyone organized and on track.  However, in taking care of others, Liz forgot to keep her own preventative care on course.

It had been too many years since Liz had had her last mammogram; she knew she was overdue for an exam. It seemed especially pressing since both her mother and sister had recently survived breast cancer scares.

When calling to reschedule an appointment for her boss, Liz happened to learn about St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation’s Gift of Life scholarship program.

Funded through community generosity, the Gift of Life program ensures that all women in our community, regardless of socio-economic status, have access to necessary women’s health screenings.

Relieved that she could access the much needed exam through the Gift of Life program, Liz instantly scheduled her appointment. She was welcomed at the Women’s Imaging Center and had her mammogram with the new, state-of-the-art 3-D technology. Fully funded by philanthropy, 3-D mammography provides earlier detection of small breast cancers, greater accuracy in pinpointing abnormalities, fewer unnecessary procedures, clearer images of dense breast tissue and a greater likelihood of detecting multiple breast tumors.

Within days of her initial screening mammogram, Liz was contacted for a follow-up breast ultrasound exam. Breast ultrasound is often used as a follow-up test after an abnormal finding on a mammogram. It was then determined Liz needed a biopsy to diagnose (or rule out) breast cancer. Less than 24 hours after her biopsy, Liz received her diagnosis. Thankfully, she did not have cancer.

“The stress of wondering and having to come back in for a follow-up exam and then a biopsy, is immensely taxing. To know you are ok quickly was simply amazing,” she said. Liz added that the entire process, from her first routine screening appointment to the biopsy, took only two weeks.

Liz grew up in the Wood River Valley, left for a while, but is thrilled to be back living in the Valley.  She is immensely grateful for the Gift of Life program, advanced mammography technology and the generous community that made it possible.

“I felt cared for and protected. To know that I didn’t have to stress about financial matters even when I was called back for a biopsy—that just meant everything.”