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Palisade High Volleyball Team raises money for breast cancer prevention

The Palisade High School Volleyball Team has partnered with the Family Health West Foundation to form the Aspen Fund, which goes towards breast cancer prevention.
Palisade High Volleyball Team
Published: Dec. 18, 2021 at 1:30 AM MST|Updated: Dec. 18, 2021 at 2:29 AM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The Palisade High School Volleyball Team has partnered with the Family Health West Foundation to form the Aspen Fund, which goes towards breast cancer prevention. The Aspen Fund is a specific account within the Family Health West Foundation to help people pay for breast cancer prevention. The Palisade High Volleyball Team has been raising money for years to donate annually to this fund.

“I think one of the volleyball players this year said it best,” said Family Health West Radiologist Dr. Michael Neste. “She said one in eight women will get breast cancer. That means two people on our varsity team will have breast cancer in their lifetime and that really made an impact.”

”Volleyball for us at Palisade right now is an all girls sport,” said Head Coach Wendy MacAskill. “So to be able to raise that awareness and statistics would show that the girls in our program will be touched by it.”

In 2009, the Palisade High School Volleyball Team started raising money for Breast Cancer awareness. And in 2017, those funds became the seed money for the Aspen Fund. This fund is used to help patients pay for breast cancer screening and biopsies.

“The amazing thing is the feedback we get from the patients,” said Neste. “We always tell them where this money came from and we’ve had comments such as, well I used to be a Fruita fan but now I’m a fan of Palisade volleyball. We’ve had comments such as, these girls are making life saving decisions and it is wonderful. Most of them just say, I can’t believe how much they have helped me. So its very rewarding.”

By establishing the Aspen Fund, the Family Health West radiology staff can request financial assistance on a case by case basis for radiology patients who are uninsured or underinsured.

“They have to finance some of it but we help them with at least 50% of the funding for any diagnostic or screening mammography and potentially any biopsies to help them diagnose breast cancer,” said Neste.

For over a decade, the volleyball team has held a pink match in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each team player collects donations, and plays in honor of a person with breast cancer or in memory of someone who had battled and lost to breast cancer during the game.

“Some of the patients who have benefited from this fund have been gracious enough to send the girls thank you notes or allowed the doctors at Family Health West to share their sentiments or their thank yous,” said MacAskill. “That’s made it very real to myself and to the girls that what we’re doing is making a difference in the lives of people in our own backyard.”

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