NEW YORK — Mary Solomon has made it her life’s work fighting breast cancer. She runs the Project Renewal ScanVan, a mobile mammography unit providing uninsured women 40 or older with free mammograms, and focusing on underserved communities.
Over the years, the ScanVan became a staple on PIX11 during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The program has been a family tradition.
“I've been doing this work about 33 years," Solomon said. "My mother was the founder of really one of the first mobile mammography units in the country. She wanted to educate women. It was her mother's breast cancer discovery that really motivated my mother to do something tangible."
Solomon’s mother discovered her own early stage breast cancer when she has an annual mammogram on the ScanVan. She has since made a full recovery.
Now, Solomon is planning to retire after serving tens of thousands of women across the five boroughs and Long Island.
"The decision was probably a little while coming," she said. "My husband and I always dreamt of retiring and traveling."
Angela Brunswick will take over the operation.
"I have full confidence that Angela will pick up the torch and carry it forward,” Solomon said.
The Project Renewal ScanVan screens more than 4,000 women every year.
Early detection of breast cancer is key to higher survival rates.
The pandemic sidelined the ScanVan for a few months, but Project Renewal started mobile screenings back up again in late June. Everyone is required to wear a mask and only one patient at a time is allowed inside.
"Only having one patient on board with our staff is important because as she goes through the van, we can disinfect and clean behind her so that we can welcome the next patient on board,” explained Mary.
This Changemaker may be retiring, but her family's legacy for helping women fight breast cancer will continue charging forward.
You can call (646) 415-7932 to get more information or to make an appointment with the Project Renewal ScanVan.
Visit the Project Renewal website by clicking here for more information on how to donate and support the program.