CRANFORD -- Asking someone, “How long has it been since you popped the question?" produces some strange looks when the person wanting to know is behind a table at a street fair.
Ask Anne Dinkel about those looks. She spent Sunday, Oct.16, asking passers-by at the Cranford Street Fair, "When did you last pop the question?" Many seemed startled at the question, but some played along and came up with answers that varied from a dozen to 35 years. That's when she laughed and popped another question, "Did you ask your wife (or friend or child) to schedule a mammogram?
Dinkel, who is the practice coordinator at Roselle Park Primary Care, which is affiliated with Atlantic Health System, volunteered her time to raise breast cancer awareness with the #AskHer campaign. She is passionate about the campaign, which reminds women to make themselves a priority and get a mammogram.
Dinkel says she used to take part in breast cancer walks and runs, but can't any more so, "I volunteer because my grandmother and four great aunts had breast cancer." The table reflects her enthusiasm for the project. There's a pale pink table cover, pink signs written by her son and a bouquet of pink flowers. "I go all out for this," she says.
Most of the women who stopped by the booth said they had already had their annual mammogram, or had an upcoming appointment. It took very little encouragement to get them to have their photo taken in the #AskHer photo frame. Dinkel took photos using each person's cell phone camera, so they could post the photo right away on social media with the #AskHer hashtag and an @AtlanticHealth tag.
When the people left, many did so with a pink silicone ring with #AskHer stamped into it. Each ring was in a small packet with a card carrying the following message, "Pop the question today! #AskHer to schedule an annual mammogram, call 844-343-3540."
Especially enthusiastic about helping spread the word about the value of mammograms were Pam Rey, president of the Roselle Active Seniors and Francine Pajewski, the group's vice president. They posed for photos in the frame, picked up some silicone rings and said they would bring the information to the group's meeting next week.
Atlantic Health offers both 2-D and 3-D mammography. Dinkel, who recently had a 3-D mammogram says, "It was the most comfortable mammogram I've ever had. There was no pain."
The #AskHer campaign was developed by a team of employees. The Cranford Fair outreach is only one of the efforts to raise awareness of a disease which according to the American Cancer Society one in eight women will develop in their lives.
The campaign includes a variety of serious and comical #AskHer note cards which can be downloaded here and then posted on Facebook, Linked In or Twitter. Atlantic Health has added 1,200 additional mammogram appointments to its schedule through Nov. 15, so there should be no trouble getting an appointment at one of the system's many breast centers.
Dinkel brought a tablet with her so people could book an appointment online,.
Along with promoting the #AskHer campaign, Overlook Medical Center sent four representatives to provide free blood pressure screening in its Community Health van.