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Y-ME to change name, drop national affiliation

November 11, 2002|By JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - Y-ME of the Cumberland Valley on Friday announced a name change as the local chapter steps away from the national organization so it can continue focusing on the community.

Starting Jan. 1, the local Y-ME chapter will become Breast Cancer Awareness of Cumberland Valley, board member Brandon Younger announced.

The breast cancer information and support group will no longer be a Y-ME affiliate, but as a Program Partner will continue to have its programs certified by Y-ME, Executive Director Joan Fell said.

Local officials decided to go it alone after the national organization announced in July it was changing its affiliation requirements, Fell said.

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The national organization wanted more money from local affiliates and wanted affiliates to broaden their coverage areas so they include a population area of 500,000 people with a major research or teaching hospital, Fell said.

If the local group expanded its boundaries, it would have overlapped with the Alexandria, Va., group that serves Bethesda, Md., Fell said. The local group covers the area from Chambersburg, Pa., to Winchester, Va., and from Hancock to Frederick, Md., Fell said.

Also, instead of asking for an annual flat membership fee of $170, the national organization wanted a 10 percent cut from any major fund-raisers and 1.5 percent of total revenues, Fell said.

The local group's annual fund-raiser, the Step 'n Stride, raised more than $42,000 this year, Fell said. If the new guidelines had been in effect, the local group would have had to turn $4,200 over to the national group.

With the old guidelines still in effect, all of that money will go to the local group's programs, Fell said.

Other than the name change, local residents shouldn't notice a difference in the group because it will continue to offer the same programs and services, Fell said. Those include a 24-hour Hopeline hot line, a free wig and prosthesis bank and free mammograms and ultrasounds for women with low income and no health insurance, she said.

The announcement was made at the Milestone Farm home of Don and Jone Bowman. Jone Bowman is a breast cancer survivor and former Y-ME board member. The Bowmans hosted the evening's fund-raiser, Reaching for the Moon, that brought in more than $10,000 for the group.

More than 250 people participated in the Step 'n Stride on Oct. 26. People pledged donations to Y-ME for participants doing a five-mile walk and/or one of two aerobics sessions, Fell said.

Fell said members should receive a letter by Jan. 1 about the change.

Ann Brinkman, spokeswoman for Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization in Chicago, said about half of the 26 affiliates so far have chosen to become Program Partners instead of affiliates.

The national organization made the changes to provide more support to affiliates and move away from relying on fund-raising events with a lot of overhead costs, Brinkman said.

Y-ME of the Cumberland Valley has 350 members, Fell said.

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