YMCA of Snohomish County vice president of operations Patsy Cudaback speaks at a lunch with other Sky Valley women community leaders at EvergreenHealth Monroe.
YMCA of Snohomish County vice president of operations Patsy Cudaback speaks at a lunch with other Sky Valley women community leaders at EvergreenHealth Monroe.

A group of female leaders in the Sky Valley met at EvergreenHealth Monroe last Thursday to support breast health. 

EvergreenHealth’s breast center’s 3-D mammography unit is now up and running. EvergreenHealth Monroe’s new chief administrative officer Renée Jensen said its use has doubled compared to its prior 2-D technology.

“We were hopeful,” she said of the increase.

The medical center is still struggling financially, she said, but the new machine is expected to be a good investment. The EvergreenHealth Monroe Foundation paid for more than half of the purchase.

Hundreds of community leaders had attended the fourth annual Blue Jeans and Boots Gala at the Pine Creek Nursery in Monroe on Sept. 9, where the foundation presented $200,000 to go toward the unit. The funds were raised as part of a yearlong campaign, the end goal being to make advanced breast health technology available to east Snohomish County residents.

A number of attendees at Thursday’s lunch scheduled a mammogram that day, including YMCA of Snohomish County vice president and Monroe City Councilmember Patsy Cudaback. She said she received great customer service during the procedure.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation recommends women have mammograms every 1-2 years after turning 40. Anyone younger, who has risk factors, is encouraged to ask their doctor how regularly they should engage. 

“Mammograms can often show a breast lump before it can be felt,” according to the foundation. They also can show tiny clusters of calcium called microcalcifications. Lumps or specks can be caused by cancer, fatty cells, or other conditions like cysts.

Evergreen Speedway’s marketing assistant Nicole Gruendl said she decided to sign up for a check up because she is getting older, her body is changing, and she knows the importance of putting herself first. Women are natural caregivers and too often push their own needs aside, she said.

Luncheon attendees also made plans to meet regularly to discuss challenges and solutions for the community. Cudaback said new Monroe city administrator Deborah Knight had casually suggested a collective of women form.

Knight had taken part in one that met while she worked in Stanwood as a city administrator before being hired on in Monroe. Together the group was able to address some minor community issues, she said.

The next informal meeting will be in February — others are encouraged to join. 

“What a privilege to have this many powerful women in one room,” Jensen said.