I feel so blessed that the ‘Gift of Life’ found my cancer early because my experience has been so much better than several of my friends who caught it too late.

Rita Leverkuhn, 63, of Vidor, believes friendship saved her life. Without health insurance, she often neglected her health until her dear friend, Charlotte, scheduled her for a “Gift of Life” mammogram. Happy to be sharing the experience with a companion, Rita was screened at Baptist Orange Hospital through the generous support of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.

Though Charlotte’s mammogram was normal, Rita was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Having seen friends battle breast cancer, this mother of five and grandmother of nine worried that her diagnosis would rob her of valuable time with her beautiful family and sisterhood of friends.

With her steady return to health through follow-up care from UTMB-Galveston, Rita has discovered the lifesaving benefits of early detection. Today she looks forward to many years of watching her precious grandchildren grow to adulthood.