For women older than 40, getting regular mammograms can be life saving. Dallas pastor Dr. Sheron Patterson knows this all too well.

Five years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Because she was diligent to have regular examinations, it was caught early. A hard fight and a mastectomy later, Patterson calls herself a “grateful and fun-loving survivor.”

For too many women, the story does not end on such a happy note.

According to Methodist Health System, a mammogram without insurance costs around $266. For some, this cost is too high.

To celebrate her 5-year victory with cancer, Patterson is reaching out to those women who cannot afford this essential medical care. Early detection saved her life, and she wants to give that gift to others.

“I praise God that I had the health insurance to pay for it,” Patterson says. “I have great concern for those who cannot.”

This Sunday, May 13, launches Patterson’s “Year of Living and Giving.” Patterson has teamed up with Methodist Health Systemto raise funds for the next year to provide 1,000 free mammograms for women who most need it in the Dallas area.

Methodist will focus most heavily on five zip codes with high breast cancer rates and low screening services, identified by its mobile mammography units: 75210, 75215, 75216, 75232, and 75241. Women in these zip codes will be provided with free education and screening

It will cost $200,000 to provide the mammograms, and Patterson is asking the community to get on board.

“I want this to be a grassroots, philanthropic event,” Patterson said. She hopes that people will come up with innovative and creative ways to raise the funds.

The first event benefiting “A Year of Living and Giving,” is “Bring Your Bling,” which takes place on June 10at 4 p.m. at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church. Donations also are accepted anytime on Methodist’s website.