OGDEN -- Last year, Dave Owens lost his stepdaughter Andrea Price to cancer.
The former Ogden deputy fire chief said she had been experiencing ankle pain that wouldn't go away. By the time she was able to get to a doctor, the cancer, called leiomyosarcoma, had spread and she lost her life at the age of 40.
"Early detection could have saved her life, but she was financially challenged and couldn't afford to go to the doctor," he said.
Last year, Owens and a group of fire chiefs and dispatchers from Weber and Davis County formed a group called Guardians of the Ribbon to raise as much money as possible for the early detection and treatment of all types of women's cancers for the less fortunate women at Midtown Community Health Center. Each of the individuals involved has a female relative who has been affected by cancer.
"We raise money by hosting a charity golf tournament," Owens said. "The tournament was in Davis County, and this year it will be at Mount Ogden Golf Course in Weber County. Last year, we were able to raise $6,000 for Midtown."
Midtown is hosting its 10th annual Women's Health Connection on Monday and Tuesday. The event, which includes early detection and screening tests, is designed to provide preventive health care services to lower income and uninsured women, said Lisa Nichols, executive director at Midtown.
"Uninsured women lack access to prevent health screening," she said. "Data from the Utah Department of Health indicated that 31 percent of women who should have received a pap smear have not. The Women's Health Connection event is important because it provides early detection and treatment for cancers that might otherwise go undetected."
The event is sponsored by Midtown, McKay-Dee Hospital, the Junior League of Ogden and Weber State University's dental hygiene program. This year, 600 women will be screened for cervical, breast, oral and skin cancers.
In addition, Walmart stores from Logan to Syracuse will provide 50 volunteers and $7,500 to support the event.
"We're going to have volunteers at the golf tournament, and Midtown will have volunteers at the health connection," Owens said. "We still have a few open slots. The cost is $75 for public safety folks and $100 for anyone else who would like to join us."
The Weber County Fire Officers Association, which is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization, is also accepting donations for the event. You can donate by going to weberdavisguardians.com.
"We want to support the health connection as much as we can," Owens said. "We all have a story like mine, and if you don't, you will at some point in your life."