By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
PAWTUCKET – The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation received a $10,000 Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Community Grant to improve early breast cancer detection for Rhode Island’s underserved citizens, specifically intended for the Hope Bus, a 38-foot pink recreational vehicle that serves as The Foundation’s mobile resource unit.
It also is meant to expand outreach, information, services and referrals among the state’s Latino, Portuguese and Southeast Asian communities.
Gloria Gemma Foundation executive director Maria Gemma said that in its first nine months the Hope Bus, rolled out in April 2011, reached 4,000 visitors from 19 Rhode Island communities. Eighteen percent of those visitors identified themselves as Latino and 10 percent as African-American.
“We think these numbers validate our efforts within minority communities,” Gemma said. “And with BCBSRI’s continued support, we believe that we can eventually reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer.”
The Hope Bus provides educational, arts-based and therapeutic programming related to breast cancer awareness and early detection at hospitals, community centers, senior centers, businesses, and cultural events.