Yearly mammograms can be an important tool for breast cancer detection. It’s recommended that all women begin getting them between ages 45 and 50, with others at higher risk of breast cancer starting earlier. One Alabama woman who knows the importance of these health screenings is making sure other women schedule theirs.

After her yearly mammogram, which she received a few months before her 55th birthday, Tuscaloosa County woman Annette Smallwood was diagnosed with breast cancer. Because that mammogram caught her cancer, she decided she wanted other women to get their screenings, as well. That gave rise to her “55 for 55” initiative. With that, Smallwood aims to raise $7,000 to cover the cost for the procedures for 55 other women before her 55th birthday on January 23rd.

55 mammograms

A Facebook page for the initiative says, “After being diagnosed with Breast Cancer in October I realized how lucky I was. Turns out I have great insurance, an amazing family and the best group of supportive friends a girl could have asked for.”

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Smallwood explained that those blessings made her want to pay it forward.

As part of the fundraiser, Smallwood decided to auction off the chance to shave her head, which she figured she’d have to do anyway as her treatment progresses. She posted the video to the initiative’s Facebook page.

55 mammograms

Before her hair was shaved, she said, “Part of this has fallen out. I started chemo two weeks ago. They warned me it was going to happen. I knew it was going to happen.”

In the video, she also said she plans to do many other fundraising efforts before the deadline.

She’s optimistic that those will help her reach her goal. Her Facebook page says, “Annette reached out to her friends asking if they thought she was crazy to think she could raise enough money to pay for 55 mammograms by her 55th birthday! No one thought she was crazy and everyone encouraged her to march forward!”

55 mammograms

Smallwood says after she was diagnosed, she found out that one of her closest male friends had had breast cancer, as well. She wants everyone to be aware that the disease affects men and women.

You can watch the Facebook live video of her haircut below.

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