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Mobile MRI Unit offering free brain scans in Spa City this week

Mobile MRI Unit offering free brain scans in Spa City this week

The Brain Tumor Foundation's "Road to Early Detection" campaign will be on Lake Avenue until Thursday
Mobile MRI Unit offering free brain scans in Spa City this week
Pete Salmon, of Saratoga, gets ready for a free brain scan in the MRI room with the help of AmyRussell, a radiology supervisor.
Photographer: Erica Miller/Daily Gazette Photographer

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Before the Brain Tumor Foundation's "Road to Early Detection" campaign began its three-day run in the city on Tuesday, the organization already decided to extend its hours. 

"Normally we do 9 hours of scanning per day, but we've extended it to 11 hours," said Radiology Supervisor Amy Russell, regarding the free screening for brain tumors and other neurological disorders the foundation provides with its mobile MRI Unit. "We were totally booked before we showed up."

Russell said that, while approximately 25 people receive the 11-minute scan daily, the foundation was already on its 20th patient by early afternoon Tuesday. 

"We have more than 200 people on the waiting list," she said. "We had more response than we thought."

While Saratoga Springs resident Pete Salmon doesn't have a family history of neurological disorders, he wanted to be screened for peace of mind. 

"I want to see if I have a tumor, because a lot of people don't know they have one," he said. "It's fabulous that they're here, because many people could be saved because of it."

Salmon said he hopes more people come out for the screening. 

"I know they're limited to the number of people they can fit in, but I hope more people find it," he said. "I hope it gets bigger and they receive more funding, so they can help more people." 

Bill Kornrumpf traveled from Schenectady to Saratoga Springs Tuesday to get a scan. 

"I can't get an MRI easily, so I thought, why not?" he said. "It's nice to know if I have something. 

"They also need data, so this is an opportunity to help them with their research."

The data collected by the Brain Tumor Foundation's "Road to Early Detection" campaign will be analyzed to determine what causes brain tumors. New York City-based Columbia University Medical Center will conduct that analysis. 

Saratoga Springs was chosen as one of the mobile unit's stops because it is close to Warren County, which, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has the highest incidence rate for all cancers combined of any county in the state. 

Michael Amo, a member of the Brain Tumor Foundation's Board of Directors, lives in Saratoga Springs part-time and said he wanted the unit to be located in the city due to the high foot traffic this time of year. 

Amo helped found the organization after his wife died at the age of 45 from a brain tumor. 

"We wanted to make early detection available for everyone," he said. "It's about saving lives."

Amo said he didn't expect such a large response from those in the Capital District. 

"I didn't think the demand would be this high," he said. "We've got to come back." 

The Brain Tumor Foundation will be screening patients from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday in the parking lot of 20 Lake Ave. 

Those scanned must be between the ages of 18 and 80, all will receive a CD of their scans to provide to their physicians.

To make an appointment for a brain scan, visit calendly.com/btf, or call 844-283-7226. 

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