Written by Kim Kirby, Breast Imaging Coordinator at Centra Bedford Memorial Hospital
My career began in 1985 as a Radiologic Technologist at Virginia Baptist Hospital where my days were filled with doing upper gastrointestinal studies, barium enemas, urinary tract studies and operating room procedures. A few years later, I was approached about working in mammography, but at the time, I could not see myself as a mammographer.
In 2007, I became the department’s Quality Control Technologist, which required having an office job. After a few years of working in this position, I realized I missed interacting with and caring for patients. Around this same time, my mother went in for her yearly mammogram. There was an area of concern that she was notified of, and a subsequent biopsy revealed that she had breast cancer.
I was with my mother while she was having this test done in Breast Imaging at Virginia Baptist, and as I sat with her, it became even more evident to me that I missed having contact with patients. After asking God for direction, I started thinking about mammography and realized that this was the direction I was being led.
After receiving the required education that I needed to be a mammographer, a position became available in the Bedford Breast Imaging Department. I considered it a double blessing to get the job and to be closer to home by working in Bedford. For the last 30 years, I had driven every day from Huddleston to Lynchburg!
As a mammographer, I understand the importance of women who are over 40 being able to have a yearly screening. Not all women have insurance which limits one from being able to afford the study. The Centra Foundation’s MAAM (Mammograms Annually A Must) Fund works to address this need by providing free mammograms to those without insurance.
For the last 5 years, Breast Imaging at Bedford Hospital has facilitated an annual t-shirt campaign to raise money for the MAAM Fund. We focus not only on raising money for the MAAM Fund but also on the importance of getting an annual mammogram. One in eight women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis during their life.
It has become my personal mission to ensure all women have better access to potentially life-saving mammography services through the MAAM Fund, and that’s how I work to carry out Centra’s mission of “improving the health and quality of life for the communities we serve.”