Nonprofit My Density Matters educates women on how to advocate for their breast health
It's time to schedule your mammogram, ladies. And while you are there, don't forget to ask about your breast density. Because it matters.
Just ask Leslie Ferris Yerger of Hawthorn Woods, founder of My Density Matters.
"I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer two months after an 'all clear' mammogram and ultrasound; it was hidden in dense breast tissue." said Ferris Yerger in an email.
"Most women think an 'all-clear' mammogram means they don't have breast cancer, which might not be true, especially if you have dense breasts. What it does mean is that no cancer was found, not necessarily that no cancer was present. Knowing your density opens up a better conversation with your doctor about your breast cancer screening options."
In fact, according to mydensitymatters.org, a mammogram will find 98% of cancers in people who do not have dense breasts as opposed to less than 50% in people who do. That is a huge swing.
The reason? Dense breast tissue appears white on a mammogram, as does the cancer. The denser the tissue, the harder to find the cancer.
Ferris Yerger started My Density Matters to educate women so they can become their own advocates. The organization offers various programs and initiatives that teach women how to identify their breast density, and the options available to them for further care.
To help fund its endeavors, the organization holds a variety of fundraisers, including the upcoming Pickleball Tournament Feb. 5 in Lake Zurich.
There will also be a Boat Crawl in June and the Think Pink Walk in October.
Donations are also always appreciated. Go to mydensitymatters.org to find out more about these events, as well as resources and options for women with breast health concerns.
Ferris Yerger discusses her organization and the upcoming Pickleball Tournament.
Q: What is My Density Matters? Give a brief overview of your organization.
A: My Density Matters is a local grass-roots nonprofit breast cancer organization founded in 2021 by Leslie Ferris Yerger.
Leslie was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer two months after an all-clear mammogram and ultrasound. Her dense breast tissue inhibited early detection. Leslie doesn't want her story to become someone else's story. That's why she founded My Density Matters.
• Our vision: A world where breast density no longer hinders the early detection of breast cancer.
• Our mission: To empower women to find out their breast density, learn their options, and take control of their breast cancer screening.
Q: What are some of the programs you offer to help women?
A: We are currently gearing up for our 3rd annual Find Out My Breast Density Day on Feb. 22. Every hour, on the hour, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central time, a new initiative or event will be introduced via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
We have also launched our Check Your Chart™ initiative. Women can text Check Your Chart to 211411 to get information on how to find their breast density through their mammogram reports and on their online portals and take appropriate action.
Additionally, we have a Hispanic Outreach Program reaching women locally and nationwide. Our materials have been translated into Spanish. We attend Chicagoland events to help educate Hispanic women on breast density and the importance of knowing their specific breast density category.
Finally, on International Women's Day, March 8, we will host an event in Niles with Hart Dental of Barrington in Park Ridge for the Polish-speaking community.
Q: Where do the majority of your donations come from?
A: Grants, corporate sponsorships, events, and individual donations.
Q: How many people per year do you serve?
A: Millions online and hundreds in person.
Q: Tell us about the upcoming Pickleball Tournament.
A: Our Pickleball tournament will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5, at The Foglia YMCA, 1025 N. Old McHenry Road, Lake Zurich. The Foglia YMCA has generously donated their gym for our event.
At the time this article was submitted, there were two advanced (3.5 and above) openings left. Go to mydensitymatters.org, click on resources, and select events from the drop-down menu.
There is a nonrefundable entry fee of $50.
You can get on a waitlist for beginner and intermediate play by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a round-robin tournament where medals will be awarded. Our generous sponsor is local Realtor Ronna Streiff with Baird & Warner.
Even if you're not playing in our tournament, come be a part of our silent auction. We have generous donations from Beelow's, Cooper's Hawk, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and Lake Zurich Florist.
Q: How can readers help with your organization?
A: As a nonprofit organization, we're always looking for private and corporate donors. Go to mydensitymatters.org and hit the donate button.
We are also looking for sponsors for our Boat Crawl on Lake Zurich June 10 and our Think Pink Walk around Lake Zurich in October. If you are interested in being a sponsor or volunteering for My Density Matters, email email@example.com.
Q: What else would you like our readers to know?
A: Our health care system has inconsistent rules, and not all doctors are equally informed. Be your own advocate. Find out your breast density, and tell your friends and family as well. If you have dense breasts, mammography alone is not enough for you.
Please visit MyDensityMatters.org, and text Check Your Chart to 211411 for more information.
Early detection saves lives. We want your breast cancer to be found early, while still curable!
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My Density Matters
What: Pickleball Tournament to benefit My Density Matters, which aims to empower women to find out their breast density, learn their options, and take control of their breast cancer screening.
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5
Where: The Foglia YMCA, 1025 N. Old McHenry Road, Lake Zurich
Register: mydensitymatters.org, click on resources. Only a few slots remain, but you can sign up to be on the waiting list or take part in the silent auction.
3rd annual Find Out My Breast Density Day
On Feb. 22, every hour, on the hour, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., a new initiative or event will be introduced via LinkedIn; Twitter, @mydensitymatter; Facebook, facebook.com/MyDensityMatters/; and Instagram, instagram.com/mydensitymatters.