Welcome. Its really a pleasure to be here with you today for this Celebration of Hope.
Its good to have Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry with us today, Steve stand up.
As a doctor, I know he is aware of the struggles that youve faced.
Steve also has with him his mother, Wanda Henry. Were always glad to see Wanda.
I want to recognize Secretary of the Cabinet for Health Services, John Morse and Secretary for the Cabinet for Families and Children, Viola Miller.
Their leadership is critical as we face important health and welfare issues in this administration and I want you to know that theyre at the forefront in dealing with issues facing Kentuckys women.
Also, with us is Dr. Rice Leach, Commissioner of Public Health, who oversees the operations of all of Kentuckys health departments.
Judi is the eyes and ears of our administration when it comes to the issue of breast cancer.
Because of her, last year I created the Governors Task Force on Breast Cancer and Judi chairs this important work.
Judi has brought to our attention the need for legislation that has ensured bone marrow stem cell treatment will be available when needed.
She also guided us to demand that insurance companies operating in Kentucky provide screening for breast cancer and reconstruction following surgery for breast cancer.
Two years ago, she led state government employees in a signature campaign requesting additional congressional funding to fight this disease.
In Kentucky, weve provided funding for the breast cancer screening programs for our Kentucky health departments, support for the Kentucky Cancer Program, and funding to assist in the purchase of mobile screening units.
We know that Kentuckys women are our heart and soul. We also know that Kentuckys women are our mothers, our wives, our sisters, our daughters.
What we cant begin to know is the amount of suffering and pain youve gone through battling this disease.
Unfortunately, we cant ease that. But what we can do is knock down the governmental barriers to care and treatment that women who face this challenge in the future must overcome.
What we can do is demand the cooperation of our insurance companies so that you dont have to do do battle with them as you battle for your life.
What we can do is provide an environment in Kentucky that attracts to our hospitals the best doctors, surgeons, oncologists and radiologists to provide you with state of the art care.
Were going to try to do all of these things.
And, well continue to do our best to help this Commonwealth reduce its mortality rate from this disease.
Last year through an aggressive media campaign, we increased screening done by our health departments by 51 percent.This year the health departments will again offer free screenings to uninsured women and we want you to help us get out this message ----
early stage diagnosis is the key to saving lives.
Thank you for being with us today and for being a wonderful reminder that Kentuckys women still remain strong, courageous and full of hope for our future.
And now let me introduce the heart and soul of this effort and of my life, my wife Judi Patton.