The gift shop at Lawrence Memorial Hospital is aptly titled: Not only does its volunteer staff sell gifts; it also gives them.
"Each year in April when we have our volunteer annual meeting, the volunteers make a donation," said Allyson Leland, director of volunteer services at the hospital. "And in this case, it comes primarily from the gift shop proceeds. Last year, we were able to give $75,000 to the hospital."
The latest gift to the hospital helped pay for a mammotome machine, used for nonsurgical breast biopsies. Since it was acquired, the gift has saved a lot of patients from going under the knife.
"I was speaking with the director of the radiology department just in passing the other day, and I think he told me that they had done at least 100 procedures," Leland said. "And so I think people really do benefit from that service."
Doctors agree that the mammotome allows them to do more accurate breast biopsies using a needle instead of surgery. Radiologist Dr. Jim Mandigo said the mammotome speeds the process.
"Their stay here is probably an hour or two hours at most, versus a half-day involvement with surgery," he said. "They pretty much can go about their own routine sometimes the same day, preferably the next day."
And without the gift shop's donation, the equipment, which costs almost $250,000, probably wouldn't be getting put to good use Â at least not yet.
"We may have had to wait in the budget cycle for a longer amount of time before we got it," Leland said. "The auxiliary's contribution made us able to get it quicker."
That makes the mammotome a gift to the hospital that radiologists and patients alike are glad to receive.
"It's much less invasive than open biopsies in surgery, so it provides a good alternative," Mandigo said.