"This trip was a result of the many prayers and support from the community and a rewarding conclusion to a lengthy campaign, on behalf of uninsured Alabama women, that began in 2007," said founder and executive director of Steel Magnolias, Lenora Johnson.
Steel Magnolias is a dedicated group of breast cancer survivors whose goal is to educate women about early detection as well as comfort and aid those coming alongside them. The unanimous passage of bill HB147 flows perfectly with their theme of helping women make the first step to the future, after a diagnosis of cancer.
The bill was initially filed during the 2008 session and never came up for a vote.
Sponsor, Rep. Lea Fite and co-sponsor Sen. Kim Benefield resubmitted the bill during the 2009 legislative session. Breast cancer is close to each of these supporters as Lea's wife, Judy, and Sen. Benefield's mother are both breast cancer survivors.
Determined to succeed, Steel Magnolias Support Group members waged a letter-writing campaign in February, the first day of the regular session as well as petitions signed by people from throughout the state. Gov. Riley signed the bill on April 30, making it effective on July 1.
The Steel Magnolias Breast Cancer Support Group, Inc., has received many frantic calls from uninsured women, hard working women, who have worked all their lives in jobs that provided insurance, but upon retirement, lost that coverage. Not yet qualifying for Medicare, they felt abandoned, with no way to pay for the treatments needed for the cancer they learned was growing in their breast. Only recently have we been receiving calls from young, single, low-income, uninsured mothers, who are terrified because of the lump in their breast.
Thank you to everyone who has joined alongside us in this campaign.
Pictured with Gov. Riley, Rep. Lea Fite, Gladys Denizard, Margaret Taylor, Lenora Johnson, Prentiss Johnson, Paula Atkins, Dr. Dave Roberts, Marilyn Lawson, Anita May, Senator Kim Benefield, Susan Dupree, Marti Warren, Tommy Buzan, Rebecca Tiner and Elizabeth McCabe.