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Jodi and her friends have a running joke about their annual checkups at Planned Parenthood: they call them the “annual invasion.” They are probably not alone in making that joke. But Jodi also knows more than almost anyone why that checkup is so important—and why it matters that all women have access to it.

When Jodi was working as a theater technician in Minneapolis, her employment was sometimes inconsistent, and with it, her health insurance. But because of the generosity of donors like you, even without health insurance she could afford to use the services Planned Parenthood provides. Her annual visit to Planned Parenthood became a central part of her health care.

When she went in for her annual exam at the Minneapolis health center a few years ago, Jodi expected a checkup like any other. She felt completely healthy and the nurse practitioner agreed. Except for one thing: a small lump in her neck—one that she hadn’t noticed herself. The nurse ran a thyroid test, and suggested that Jodi see a specialist.

With limited funds and no insurance, Jodi was reluctant to see another medical professional, but she took the nurse’s advice and made a few phone calls. In the meantime, she started receiving letters from Planned Parenthood reminding her to follow up. “I likely would have forgotten about my weird neck lump and gone on my merry way if they hadn’t continued to send those letters,” Jodi says. “And, boy, am I lucky they did.” After a series of tests and biopsies, Jodi’s specialists told her she had follicular thyroid cancer. Six months later, she had her thyroid removed.

Today, Jodi is cancer free. “I’m well on my way to that clean bill of health I was looking for. All because of Planned Parenthood,” she says. And she tells her story to everyone she can: to friends and family, through social media, and even to the protestors who gather outside her local Planned Parenthood. She knows it is something they need to hear. “I always just want to tell people that anybody who’s opposed to Planned Parenthood obviously doesn’t know what’s going on there,” she explains. “Health is paramount for everything that they do. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, they are going to be able to do something to help you.”

Jodi lives in Boston now. A few months ago, she found her local Planned Parenthood and scheduled the “annual invasion.” “I have health insurance now, but I still prefer to go to Planned Parenthood,” she explains. “I feel more comfortable there. I feel safe and listened to … they take time to sit and talk to you, and they’ll talk to you about everything.” And Planned Parenthood is still the first place she recommends to anyone who needs care.

Tags: minnesota

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