Janelle Hail's life is a journey of survival and selflessness. As a survivor of breast cancer and the founder of the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., Hail has used her first-hand experience to reach out to women and help them battle the deadly disease while helping bring national attention to the cause.
Hail was diagnosed with breast cancer 30 years ago and created the organization in 1991. The foundation helps provide mammograms for women in need, as well as education and support for victims fighting for their lives.
The Texan native was in Lodi on Friday with members of the business community at Bella Terra Plaza to officially welcome Process Pink to Lodi. The Illinois-based company is the charitable arm of Process Pink Payments, LLC. The company works with retail stores and restaurants nationwide and provides them with a credit card processor for transactions. Every time a customer pays for something with a credit card on a Process Pink machine, part of the processing fees get donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
Q&A with Janelle Hail, founder, National Breast Cancer Foundation
Q: Medical professionals have recently said women don't need to get mammograms until later in life and don't need them annually. Do you agree with these statements?
A: We disagree with that. A new study from Sweden that came out earlier this month showed women in their 40s are definitely having their lives saved rather than waiting until the age of 50 to start getting tested.
We have said all along that women should be allowed to have mammograms paid for and shouldn't have to wait until they are 50 to start getting them. I was diagnosed when I was 34. Had I waited, I would not be here today.
Q: What is a new development in the treatment or detection of breast cancer you are excited about?
A: We put emphasis on early detection and we are pleased that digital mammography has become so accessible now to women. Over the past three years it has increased greatly and is critical for early detection. The National Breast Cancer Foundation is also going international, and we are able to provide our services to more people than ever before. We have a program called "Beyond the Shock" which is an educational tool that gives women the opportunity to understand everything about the disease and treatment. We are offering it in countries such as France, Spain and Lebanon.
Q: What advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer have been useful for other forms of cancer?
A: We provide support for genetic research. We work with the University of Texas Cancer Center. That's an area where we have a strong interest because it helps us provide early detection and it carries over into diagnosing other diseases.
Q: What helped you cope with your diagnosis and breast cancer treatment?
A: My faith carried me all the way through. I also had a strong support system. I always tell women to reach out to those around you. Some women don't have anyone, but there are ways to find support groups. The hospitals will provide support in various ways, and our online community at nationalbreastcancer.org will provide support.
Talking to people who have been through what you are going through is helpful because they understand and can help give you the courage to move forward. There are some women who truly have no one there and we are very proud of our online support community for them.
Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at email@example.com.