Photo of a woman holding a frame

“I don’t know if there are words..."

There’s never a good time for a woman to find a lump in her breast and fear that it’s cancer. But it came at a particularly unfortunate time for Michele Perdomo.

It was in the spring of 2016. Her husband, Tony, had taken a leave of absence from work to care for his grandmother, so Michele didn’t have insurance when she first suspected that might have breast cancer. Knowing that she needed a mammogram but unsure how she would pay for it, she began exploring options.

She called Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute and learned about Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Mammography Assistance Fund. The fund provides free screening for uninsured women in the community. Perdomo was quickly scheduled for a mammogram, which was followed by a biopsy.

“They were absolutely wonderful – I couldn’t have asked to be treated any better,” she said of the Gibbs Cancer Center staff members who helped her enroll in the financial assistance program and make initial appointments.

The mammogram confirmed that there was a lump in her breast, and she was scheduled for a biopsy the very next day. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer.

Michele and Tony are raising six adopted children in their home in Duncan (Michele also has two grown children), and she was most worried about the impact on them. “Having to explain everything to six kids – that was pretty tough,” she said.

Perdomo underwent radiation treatment five days a week for six weeks. The treatment took a toll.

“I didn’t even understand what fatigue is until that,” she said. “And my brain felt jumbled.”

She said Tony really stepped up for her and the children and added that friends from their church, Calvary Chapel of Greer, rallied around the family. Her team of caregivers at Gibbs Cancer Center, too, provided more than just clinical support. “I’m still in contact with my radiation team,” she said. “We’ve become friends.”

Perdomo continues to take hormone therapy drugs. The side effects can be unpleasant. “I still have bad days,” she said. But, overall, “I’m beginning to feel like myself again.”

She is optimistic about her recovery and thankful that screening was made possible through the Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Mammography Assistance Fund. “I don’t know if there are words for me to express my gratitude.”

To learn how you can support Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Mammography Assistance Fund, visit. https://regionalfoundation.com/donate-now/cancer/.