HELENA – Alma McCormick of Hardin was recognized with the Bette Bohlinger Leadership Award on Tuesday for her commitment to raising awareness about cancer screenings and reducing preventable deaths.
McCormick is a member of the Montana Cancer Coalition and the Montana American Indian Women’s Health Coalition. She is also the executive director of Messenger for Health (MFH).
MFH is an indigenous nonprofit organization located on the Crow Indian reservation that works to improve the health of individuals through community-based projects.
McCormick said the death of her young daughter to cancer has been a driving factor for her advocacy.
“That’s the stem of my passion and the reason I do the work I do: to help others,” said McCormick. “If I could help someone to prevent cancer, then I’m willing to do that… I’m a woman of faith, and as I went through this trial when my little daughter was diagnosed with cancer, I continued with my faith and the compassion to help others.”
As the executive director of Messengers for Health, McCormick has worked to increase health education and health promotion activities by encouraging native women to lead and speak with other women about screenings.
“It makes me feel so good that our experiences, our culture and our way of life, that we can share those things with [the] state on how best to reach our Indian women,” said McCormick.
Recently, MFH has engaged Crow men to do outreach to other men to increase cancer screenings and quit using commercial tobacco.
“Not only in our community, but nationwide there is a need for men to go in for screening,” added McCormick.
Bette Bohlinger died of acute myeloid leukemia in 2006, and following her passing, the MTCC created the award to honor an exceptional individual or organization that encourages, inspires, and leads others within the group.
-Reported by John Riley/MTN News