Paint it Pink, show compassion

By Chris Slone -

October has become more than crimson red, dripping off the lips of a blood thirsting vampire. Black no longer dominates the month of all hallows eve.

No, during a time of ghosts and goblins, one color reigns supreme — it’s time to Paint it Pink.

Friday the “13th” is an iconic day. However, Jason won’t be roaming around Camp Crystal Lake on this day. No, on this day, residences in Scioto County will be dawning their pink attire to participate in Paint it Pink day to support breast cancer awareness month.

SOMC has been selling T-shirts to commemorate the special occasion. Last year, the organization sold more than 7,000 shirts to support breast cancer. All of the money SOMC has raised from the T-shirt sales goes toward the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund, which was a fund created approximately eight years ago.

“All the money we collect from T-shirt sales and community awareness, 100 percent of it, goes to the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund at SOMC,” Senior Medical Director Department of Surgery and Breast Surgeon at SOMC Vincent Scarpinato said.

The Breast Cancer Compassion Fund was created to aid patients in certain areas where insurance often isn’t an option — whether it’s gas money to make appointments, or babysitting money, or even money to buy wigs for women who have had chemotherapy treatments and have lost their hair; the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund is an outlet to lesson the burden on patients.

Over the years, community involvement has run rampant through Scioto County. Linda Tieman from Portsmouth West holds a fund raiser every four years, with all the proceeds going towards the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund.

Other members who have been supportive of the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund, according to Scarpinato, are Darren Mault from the Ribber, Debbie Gambill from Century 21, Scott Schmidt from Buffalo Wild Wings and Wendy’s and the Glockners — just to name a few.

“You’re not dragging people, you’re saying, ‘Hey, can you,’ and they say yes,” Scarpinato said. “I love that.”

Aside from asking the community to get involved, Scarpinato has taken it upon himself to raise money for the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund.

“My 50th birthday party was a huge benefit in New York,” Scarpinato said. “I told people, don’t buy me a gift, I want you to write me a check and we raised $30,000. I got married three years ago. My wedding, I said the same thing. No gifts. Please write a check to the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund. We raised another $30,000.

“It’s nice I can do some of these things.”

While so much attention has been placed on the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund and it’s ability to help those in need, SOMC has also placed a high premium on community awareness.

According to Scarpinato, approximately 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. More than 40,000 women will die from the disease this year. To decrease the odds of a problem arising, preventive care is essential.

At the age of 40, women should start getting examinations once a year. SOMC offers free mammograms, with or without doctor’s orders. To perform those test, SOMC has started using its new breast care center, which offers mammogram machines with the capabilities to shoot 3-D images.

“All of our mammogram machines are now what we call tomosynthesis,” Scarpinato said. “They are state of the art, beautiful pictures.”

Scarpinato admitted that he has seen patients throughout the years who have had the desire to make the trek to Columbus because they wanted the most up-to-date imagery possible. Now, SOMC has the latest technology, meaning patients don’t have to leave Scioto County to receive the most up-to-date tests.

SOMC also just went through a major accreditation process, called the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).

“We just passed with flying colors and we’re the only breast center in the region that is approved as a breast center of excellence, which is very nice,” Scarpinato said.

At SOMC, women are able to get biopsies, mammograms and have a consult with the surgeon, all in one place. It’s been tabbed as a “one stop shopping” place for women to receive the care they need.

“I think the facility is state of the art,” Scarpinato said. “All of the equipment is top of the line. It’s really a pleasure to work here and to operate here. I came from New York City and I worked at a real big Catholic hospital there. I was thrilled when I got hired here that I felt I am practicing big city medicine in our small, little community. I truly believe that patients get as good a care as they would at OSU or NYU in New York City. I really, truly believe that.”

Scarpinato has been thrilled with the advancements made by SOMC over the past 10 years.

“It’s been a very exciting decade, being here,” Scarpinato said. “Seeing the hospital expand and to see the services.”

One of the people instrumental in the hospital’s advancements is the Director of the Cancer Center, Wendy Waugh.

“She’s a Godsend. She really is out there in the community,” Scarpinato said. “Not just breast cancer awareness, lung cancer screening, but also good health. She’s out there, telling people to quit smoking, walk a couple of times a day. She’s incredible. We’re so lucky and she was one of the people who were instrumental in recruiting me to come here.

“I met her and I was so impressed by her. She’s just a little spitfire. She’s got a lot of passion. I think I’m a passionate person myself. Our passions really gel very well together. I’m just do proud to work with her and so many people at this institution.”

By Chris Slone

Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1927, or on Twitter @crslone.

Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1927, or on Twitter @crslone.