The Victims of Mill Tailings Exposure annual dinner and cancer walk was held on June 9, with crowds well exceeding those who participated the previous year. VMTE Secretary Cathy Hatch reports that more than 250 people attended the dinner that was provided by the Monticello Lions Club and more than 200 people participated in the walk at the mill site, nearly double those from 2011.
The 2012 event honored long time Monticello resident Marilee Bailey, who recently lost her battle with cancer. Bailey believed strongly in the VMTE program and worked diligently for the cause.
Each participant at the event was presented with an angel pin given to remember Marilee. Following a program at the Millsite, where Steve Young and Barbra Pipkin spoke and Cyndi Burtenshaw and Jennifer Hellewell preformed a special musical number, Bailey’s family lighted the torch in honor and remembrance of cancer victims which was placed at the kiosk on the site.
During the walk, the pathway was lighted by luminaries placed by Easton Bowring for his Eagle Scout project. The luminaries had been decorated by local church youth and elementary students. Bowring had also collected more than $1,000 in donations from local residents and businesses.
VMTE Secretary Cathy Hatch praised all who participated and helped put the event together. “We felt like it was a really positive and meaningful event in honor of Marilee,” she said. “We had a great turn out.”
Hatch reports that the VMTE cancer screening voucher program is still going on. Hatch said that the program has money to assist anyone who lived, worked or went to school in Monticello from 1941 to 2000. People can apply for a voucher at the Health Department office at the San Juan County Courthouse in Monticello.
The voucher can be used to cover the costs of screening services that primary insurance does not cover, or the cost of the screening for those with no insurance. Hatch points out that people can also apply for help with treatment costs and travel reimbursements.
Hatch said that people should be screened every two years, and those who have already had a voucher can apply every two years for a new screening voucher. Those who have doctors orders for screening more regularly can get funding assistance as needed.
The money for the program is provided by federal grant, and the VMTE committee is continually seeking additional funding. The Health Department is open for applications Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and can be reached for questions by calling (435) 587-2021.
Hatch encourages everyone to “Get screened. We help pay for a colonoscopy. I am shocked by how many people come back with polyps. There are so many who we don’t even know the results because they don’t report back to us. I would highly recommend you have your regular screening and have a colonoscopy. Try to be as preventative as possible.”