Digital mammography is goal for holiday concert and Tree of Lights Community members, Dakota Hospital Foundation board members and the USD Department of Music have partnered to host a special holiday celebration all in an effort to further local and area access to the latest in medical technology. Earlier this fall, the DHF Board of Directors identified digital mammography as its current project. The second annual DHF Tree of Lights program officially kicked off that fundraising effort. With the identification of the digital mammography project, the DHF planning committee invited community member Colette Abbott, board member of the South Dakota Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, to join the group. "As a board member of the South Dakota Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and as the Komen Race for the Cure Chair we are excited that Sanford Vermillion will soon be offering digital mammography as a screening option," said Abbott. "The Komen promise is to saves lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cure. Early screening and detection is the key." In 1982 less than 30 percent received a clinical exam, today nearly 75 percent of women over 40 years old now receive regular mammograms, the single most effective tool for detecting breast cancer early. The five-year survival rate for breast cancer, when caught early before it spreads beyond the breast, is now 98 percent, compared to 74 percent in 1982. "In South Dakota 520 women and three men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This is why we can not rest; we need to find a cure. For the people of Clay County the availability of digital mammography services provides access to the best breast cancer detection technology available," said Abbott. The Tree of Lights will provide community members with the opportunity to purchase a light in memory of someone, in honor of someone or as a holiday greeting to a special friend or relative. The three story evergreen located at the corner of Main and Plum Streets at Sanford Vermillion has been designated for the touching display. The planning committee is also partnering with the USD Department of Music to provide a unique holiday experience. Dr. Larry Schou, associate dean and Department of Music chair, welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with the lighting of the tree event.
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