Volunteers sending mammogram machines to Uzhgorod
Computers, desks, chairs, wheelchairs, dental supplies, rolls of carpet and three mammogram machines were all getting packed into a 40-foot container Saturday that will be sent to Uzhgorod, Ukraine, Corvallis's sister city.
The main goal of the shipment, being sent by the Corvallis Sister Cities Association, is to equip a new mammography center in Uzhgorod. However, there are also supplies to help a physical therapy clinic, the local orphanage and a dental clinic.
The mammography center would be the first of its kind in Transcarpathia, a region in western Ukraine, said Alice Rampton, one of the sister cities shipment organizers.
The Uzhgorod hospital currently has one mammogram unit, but it's not used for early detection, Rampton said.
"It's used to say how big the lump is," she said.
The three machines the organization is sending are about five years old, but they're still like new, said Mark Rampton, a sister cities board member.
"The secret to breast cancer is catching it early," said mamographer Kathleen Kendall, who was helping pack up all the supplies.
Three machines should make for a fairly decent-sized clinic for a city of 130,000 — the population Uzhgorod, Kendall said. The mammography clinics in Corvallis and Albany each have three machines.
In all, the shipment is worth about $55,000, and almost all the supplies came to the organization as donations. The U.S. State Department pays the shipping costs.
This is the fifth shipment the Corvallis organization has sent to Uzhgorod. They've sent more than 300,000 pounds of medical equipment, and many of their shipments have won international awards.
"I think part of it is we just don't dump and run," Alice Rampton said.
A group of volunteers goes to the Ukraine with every shipment to help get things set up.
In the past, the organization has sent enough equipment to start a physical therapy clinic and a dental clinic in the orphanage.They've also sent supplies for the orphanage.
"We go back every year and we see the stuff," said Rampton, who's taken about 10 trips to the Ukraine.
This will probably be the last shipment, she said. The organization will now probably focus on training people to use the supplies that are already there and do upkeep on them.