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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 8, 2008

Governor Blagojevich and Walgreens Team Up to Encourage Women to Get Screened During Breast Cancer Awareness Month by Providing $50,000 in Gift Cards
Beauty salons answer the call to spread the word about free breast cancer screenings and low-cost treatments – “Beautiful Inside & Out”

CHICAGO – Celebrating the one year anniversary of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s groundbreaking expansion of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP), Deputy Governor Louanner Peters and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold today announced in Chicago a partnership between the State of Illinois and Walgreens to encourage women to get screened during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
 
The first 2,000 women to sign up for IBCCP by calling the Women’s Health Line at 1-888-522-1282 to schedule and keep their screening appointment will receive a $25 gift card from Walgreens.  The gift card can be used to help cover the cost of prescription medications during these tight economic times or for other necessary purchases.  Joining in the announcement was Y’lonn Salon, one of the State’s partners in the new “Beautiful Inside & Out” initiative aimed to help spread the word about the importance of early detection, and to let their clients know that all uninsured women may be eligible for free screenings and low-cost treatment through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.
 
“We are excited that Walgreens has donated $50,000 worth of $25 gift cards in an effort to encourage women to get screened during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Many women are often focused on taking care of others – their children, husbands, parents – and don’t take the time to take care of themselves.  They put off getting their annual mammogram and screenings, sometimes until it’s too late,” said Deputy Governor Louanner Peters.  “Thanks to Walgreens, we now have a wonderful incentive for women to sign up for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and make and keep their appointment to get screened.”
 
“Breast cancer does not just impact women.  It impacts husbands, grandchildren, sons and daughters of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Walgreens is happy to help the State of Illinois raise awareness of the importance of breast cancer screenings and to offer women an incentive to sign up for a program that could save their lives,” said Michael Polzin, Walgreens Spokesperson. 
 
In an effort to make sure every woman knows the importance of routine breast cancer screenings, and to make sure every uninsured woman in Illinois knows about the availability of free breast and cervical cancer screenings and low-cost treatment to women who qualify for IBCCP, beauty salons across the state are joining in the “Beautiful Inside & Out” initiative.
 
“Beauty salons are often places where women talk about everything from the latest fashions to their families.  By training those of us who work in salons about the importance of early detection and screenings, as well as how the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program works, we can pass this information on to our clients, friends, family and coworkers and potentially save a woman’s life.  Women listen to other women, and “Beautiful Inside & Out” will help spread the word about access to life saving screenings and treatment,” said Y’lonn Parker, Owner of Y’lonn Salon in Chicago.
 
Salon professionals from all over the state have attended trainings to learn about the importance of early detection and screenings, and how to become an advocate for routine breast and cervical cancer screenings.
 
According to the American Cancer Society, the five year survival rate for breast cancer is 98 percent when it is detected early.  When breast cancer is detected in later stages, after it has progressed and transferred to other parts of the body, the survival rate drops to 26 percent.  Cervical cancer is also treatable if detected early. 
 
“When I received my breast cancer diagnosis 15 years ago, I was fortunate it was caught early because I had access to the proper screenings, treatment and a strong support system. This wonderful program helps many women who, because of circumstances beyond their control, don't have the same opportunity to identify and treat these cancers. It gives them a fighting chance for survival. As a Walgreens employee and a survivor, I salute this important program benefiting all women in Illinois,” said Bonnie Gordon, Manager of Promotional Marketing & Community Outreach, Walgreen Co.
 
The best way to detect cancer early is to have regular breast and cervical cancer screenings.  Through IBCCP, eligible women 35 or older can get cervical cancer screenings, and women 40 or older can get breast cancer screenings.  Younger women who have symptoms may also be eligible. 
 
If cancer is found, IBCCP offers access to low-cost treatment.  Even if a woman has been diagnosed with cancer outside of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, they may still receive low-cost treatment.
 
This October, make sure the women in your life receive their annual mammograms and know about the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.  Let women know that if they sign up for IBCCP during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by calling the Women’s Health Line at 1-888-522-1282, and make and keep an appoint to get screened for breast cancer, they will receive a $25 gift card from Walgreens.
 
For more information on signing-up for IBCCP and the “Beautiful Inside & Out” initiative log onto www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov.


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