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Memorial: Mammograms, martinis, manicures, massages

Special correspondent
Published: May 15, 2013
Women at Mammogram & Martinis on April 30 sip drinks and visit while waiting for a mammogram or other test at Memorial Hospital.

SOUTH TAMPA - One-by-one the women left the “party.”But soon they returned – after completing the real purpose behind the gathering the offered food, drinks, manicures and massages.Each woman had received their mammogram and, for some, other tests such as a bone density scan or a calcium score.**** Mammograms and Martinis is a monthly after-five event offered by Memorial Hospital toward women to take care of their health screenings.The hospital provides a complimentary dinner, drinks and other amenities in a festive atmosphere to help the women relax.On a recent Tuesday night, about a dozen women took advantage of the opportunity. They visited in the lobby of the hospital’s women’s center and waiting area until their name was called. They then went to a private screening room for the test before returning to the group.Linda Reece, the hospital’s senior advantage manager, organizes the event and staff member Alicia Holt serves as “bartender.” At the recent gathering, Holt mixed bikini martinis, complete with a coconut flavor and a splash of grenadine syrup for color. Wine, soda and water also were available as was chicken, rice, vegetables and cookies.“It is important for women to take care of themselves and we are making it fun, like a little spa night,” Reece said. “We saw people who put it off for years.”Several attendees asked if the martinis or wine could affect the mammogram. She said they did not.Angela Hardin was among those attending; she juggles work and home with caring for aging parents, too.“This makes it very convenient, it is after hours and a perfect situation,” Hardin said.On that night, free massages and manicures were offered by local cosmetology students under the direction of Ann Burdsal, the night instructor.“It gives them (the students) the experience so they kind of know what to expect when they go out to work,” Burdsal said.The mammograms are covered by insurance plans and those who don’t have insurance can pay a basic fee of $71. The hospital also will work with those patients to see if they qualify for some other kind of financial assistance for medical care.Paddy Moses, chairwoman of the hospital’s board of directors, said: “We are trying to make sure every woman gets her mammogram.“Cost shouldn’t be an issue,” she said – just as her name was called for her own mammogram.If You Go:WHAT: Mammogram & Martinis with mammograms and other medical tests for women with a complimentary dinner and drinksWHERE: Memorial Hospital, 2901 Swann Ave.WHEN: 5 to 7 p.m. May 23 and June 25 (dates in following months to be announced)COST: Mammograms covered by health insurance or $71 for uninsuredFOR RESERVATIONS: Call (813) 342-1420 or (813) 873-6406.