DBCC’s Cathy Holloway Attends the 6th "Era of Hope" Meeting in Orlando

Article written by Department of Defense – Breast Cancer Research Program

On August 2-5, 2011 at the Orlando World Center Marriott, more than 1450 researchers, clinicians, breast cancer survivors, and advocates gathered at the 6th Era of Hope meeting, sponsored by the Department of Defense (DoD) Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP).  The Era of Hope meeting is a unique forum for scientists, clinicians, breast cancer survivors (called consumer advocates within the BCRP), and the public to come together and discuss the latest findings in breast cancer research and future directions to eradicate this disease.

The 2011 Era of Hope meeting featured nearly 1,200 abstracts focusing on the BCRP’s breakthroughs in the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer.  The most current topics in the breast cancer community were discussed at the meeting, including disease risk and recurrence, metastasis, stem cells, novel therapies, improved imaging, vaccines, and health disparities. 

Breast cancer advocate and Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) staff member, Cathy Holloway, was one of over 275 consumer advocates attending this meeting.  She was invited to attend the Era of Hope meeting as a result of her prior participation as a consumer reviewer of research applications submitted to the DoD BCRP.  By attending this meeting, Holloway had an opportunity to learn about the most recent gains in breast cancer research and can now share this information with her community.  Holloway is the Director of Education & Survivorship at the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition where she runs the Peer Mentor Support Program and Clinical Trials Initiative along with other education and support programs for breast cancer survivors.

Some examples of the research reported at the meeting include:

  • Thermally targeted delivery of peptide therapeutics
  • Therapeutic eradication of DCIS progenitor cells
  • Discovery of new genetic markers for patients at high risk for bone metastasis
  • Genetic susceptibility for breast cancer in women of African Ancestry
  • Dietary consumption during pregnancy and breast cancer risk reductions
  • Development of vaccines to prevent recurrence

Since its inception in 1992, the DoD BCRP has become the second largest source of breast cancer research funding in the United States and has received over $2.68 billion in congressional appropriations, resulting in more than 10,000 unique awards that fulfill unmet needs in breast cancer research.  Unlike other cancer research funding organizations, the BCRP is a pioneer in the inclusion of consumer advocates in every aspect of the research process.  Since the program’s inception, more than 750 survivors have participated in the program, including setting the program’s vision, participating in the review of proposals, making funding recommendations, and aiding in the research process.

Through this approach of combined involvement, the BCRP enhances partnerships between the survivor community and scientists.  The survivor’s unique perspective brings a sense of urgency to the program, ensuring the BCRP remains focused on its ultimate goal of eradicating breast cancer.  

More information about the DoD BCRP is available at http://cdmrp.army.mil.

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Wilmington University Athletic Deptartment goes PINK!

WilmU Women’s Soccer Team with their opponents at 2010 Breast Cancer Awareness Game

Joshua Ruggiero, Wilmington University Head Women’s Soccer Coach, wanted to use sports as a platform to help others and he knew the girls on the team would be up for the challenge—the challenge being to raise awareness of breast cancer on the field.

The Wilmington University Women’s and Men’s Soccer teams designated one of their normal season games as a “Breast Cancer Awareness Game.”  The Athletics Department purchased custom pink uniforms and a pink soccer ball for the games.  “With the uniforms, there is no doubt about what we’re out there for,” Josh said.  The team members handed pink ribbons to spectators who made donations.  Even the referees sported pink ribbons for the cause.  “The opposing teams are always interested in taking part in the special night.  Last year the girls on the other team wore pink ribbons in their hair and on their shoes to show their support.”

Wilm U Softball Team 2011

The women’s and men’s soccer teams started the “Breast Cancer Awareness Game” tradition and now other Wilmington University teams have joined in, including Women’s Lacrosse, Women’s Softball, and Women’s and Men’s Basketball. All of the teams have custom pink uniforms that they wear for their respective “Breast Cancer Awareness Games.”

When asked why DBCC was chosen, Josh said, “We wanted to help a local organization and know that whatever funds we could raise would help the local community and have an impact immediately.”  Josh explains that he is very fortunate because he has a lot of support from the campus community, the administration, the families, the players, the conference, and even other states. “We have girls from Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and more so they go back to their home states and raise funds to be used in Delaware,” Josh explains.

“I wanted to give the girls a way to get involved and affect their lives in a positive way and it has been extremely rewarding. I look forward to it and the small steps we have taken to impact a lot of people.” Wilmington University Athletics has made a big impact on DBCC—raising over $7,100!

Wilm U Women’s Basketball Team 2010-11

The Wilmington University Women’s Soccer team had quite the season to remember last year going undefeated in their conference. “We had an amazing season last year and supporting DBCC and the fight against breast cancer is just the icing on the cake,” Josh said.

DBCC is thankful for the support of Wilmington University Athletics and the awareness and funds they raise.  “And we are thankful for the support from DBCC. They have been great with a million times the support. And they didn’t bat at eye about what athletics can do for the cause,” Josh said.

This year’s “Breast Cancer Awareness Game” for soccer will be held on Saturday, October 8 at Caravel Academy in Bear. The Women’s team will play at 5:30 pm vs. Concordia College and the Men’s team will play at 7:30 vs. Concordia CollegePlease come out and show your support!

All photos courtesy of Wilmington University Athletics Department.

The Starboard Owner, Steve Montgomery, Honors His Mother’s Commitment to Breast Cancer Education

Steve “Monty” Montgomery, owner of the Starboard Restaurant & Bar in Dewey Beach, is a man that takes breast cancer seriously. As the father of two young girls, ages one and four, and the son of a 25-year breast cancer survivor, he knows how the disease can affect someone’s life. Steve’s mother, Barbara Montgomery, passed away 6 months ago and he is trying to continue his mother’s work—being an advocate for breast cancer.

Steve and his wife with his mother, Barbara, and father.

“My mother was a big supporter of breast cancer research,” Steve said.  “She enjoyed learning about new treatments and advances. She took a lot of pride in keeping up with new research.”

Steve’s mother was also passionate about raising money for breast cancer research.  Steve has taken it upon himself to continue her good work by holding fundraisers for breast cancer organizations. This year’s 21st Annual Starboard Golf Extravaganza was held on May 9. The tournament raised $3500 for DBCC’s programs and services! To see photos of the golf tournament, click here.

Steve Montgomery (right) with DBCC’s Priscilla Rakestraw at the Golf Extravaganza.

 “So many of our customers are affected by the disease so it’s a perfect place to raise awareness and money for the cause,” Steve said.  He explains that many of his customers say “thank you” when they hear of the Starboard’s fundraising efforts for breast cancer.  And the Starboard Golf Extravaganza is not your average golf tournament—the staff at Starboard makes this event a blast.  “We show people that fundraising doesn’t have to be boring and we can have fun while raising money for a good cause.”

Courtesy of TheStarboard.com

Steve and his team will be making fundraising fun once again on Saturday, October 8 with the Starboard’s First Annual Dewey Does Pink 5K – The ‘Gugie’ Run. The event is in memory of Steve’s mother, Barbara, who was affectionately given the nickname “Gugie.”  The 5K will start at 12 noon at the Starboard and all proceeds will benefit DBCC. And like all Starboard fundraisers, this is not your average 5K Race. They will be doing everything they can to paint Dewey Beach pink and will have a post-race party with music, refreshments, and a pig roast BBQ. For more information and to register, click here.

“Breast cancer is a nasty disease that affects everybody—their wives, girlfriends, sisters, moms, and other loved ones.  Sooner or later, it’s going to affect you so it’s important for people to help out now and not ignore the disease.”

DBCC and CAMP Rehoboth: A Partnership for Women’s Health

Kathy Wiz had an idea to bring breast cancer awareness to the forefront at CAMP Rehoboth, a gay and lesbian community service organization in Rehoboth Beach where she volunteers.  Her sister, Anne Marie, had just been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and Kathy knew she needed to do something to honor her sister and educate others.  “I wanted to do something in October but we didn’t have enough time to plan and then we thought about doing an event during CAMP Rehoboth’s Annual Women’s Fest Weekend and we thought, ‘that’s perfect!’

DBCC Volunteers Peggy Dever and Sue Ryan (left) with DBCC Program Manager Connie Holdridge and CAMP Rehoboth Volunteer Kathy Wiz (right).

On April 10, during Women’s Fest 2011, CAMP Rehoboth hosted the Inaugural “Broadwalk on the Boardwalk,” a non-competitive walk down the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk to bring about awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition.  “I don’t know how ‘Broadwalk’ came about but it just happened.  And I asked a few people if they felt it was offensive and everyone loved it.”  Loved it, they certainly did!  Hundreds gathered at CAMP to walk down the boardwalk with pink boas, t-shirts and other accessories.  “Broadwalk on the Boardwalk was one of the most enjoyable and colorful events of the year,” said DBCC Development Director Priscilla Rakestraw.  “The community was very welcoming and generously participated in the fight against breast cancer.”  To see additional photos from the event, click here.

Kathy explains the purpose behind the “Broadwalk on the Boardwalk” was “to get women together because they need education and resources and also to honor those that traveled their breast cancer journey.”  Many walk participants made t-shirts in honor or memory of those impacted by the disease.

The walk was unique in that there was no registration fee or minimum donation amount.  “I wanted to make sure anyone and everyone who wanted to support the cause could do just that,” Kathy said.  Donations totaled more than $6,000 for DBCC.  “We were just overwhelmed with generosity,” she added.

“The walk was to honor and cherish my sister, who struggled courageously and, to-date, successfully.  She is my inspiration and my hero.”  Kathy explains that DBCC was also instrumental in providing the education and resources.  There was a DBCC information table with brochures and materials.

However, the “Broadwalk on the Boardwalk” isn’t the first time that DBCC and CAMP Rehoboth have partnered up.  The two have been focusing on health issues together for years.  Sal Seeley, CAMPSafe Program Director at CAMP Rehoboth, explains the partnership between DBCC and CAMP Rehoboth is a great one.  “DBCC has resources that CAMP doesn’t have and right now, resources are limited so partnerships are important,” Sal said.

Sal explained that breast cancer is an important issue for the CAMP community:  “From a sexual minority standpoint, lesbians are at a higher risk for breast, ovarian and cervical cancers.”  He explained that he believes there are 4 major reasons for this:  

  • Health care providers are not talking about prevention because they might feel uncomfortable or not know how to approach the subject;  
  • Homosexual couples do not have the same shared health benefits that married couples do;  
  • Lesbians don’t get as many exams because they might not feel that they are at-risk or do not go to the gynecologist as often; and  
  • Lesbian women are less likely to have children, which has been noted as a potential risk factor for breast cancer.

Sal explained that since Rehoboth Beach is a resort community, it is important to educate those women who move here and don’t know what resources are available to them.  “We’ve received a lot of good feedback especially those that are concerned with health issues,” he said.

At a Breast Health Presentation at Women’s Fest

“The Rehoboth Beach community and LGBTQ community are generally very active and supportive of causes, especially health issues and receiving quality care,” Sal said.  “And DBCC is great because they are very open to other communities.”

The partnership between DBCC and CAMP is continually growing.  In the past years, DBCC has provided information to be available at CAMP, especially during breast cancer awareness month.  This past year DBCC gave breast health presentations and held breakout sessions during Women’s FestOn September 10, 2011, DBCC will be attending CAMP’s Health Day with breast cancer information and Beebe will be on-site with screenings.  DBCC Program Manager Connie Holdridge has played a big role in the partnership with CAMP.  “We’re so thrilled to be able to partner with CAMP Rehoboth on these important women’s issues.  It really is a wonderful partnership that brings together two organizations that have a focus on health,” she said.

“The health initiative at CAMP is great and I’m really excited about the potential of what this means for DBCC and CAMP,” Sal said.

Special Thanks to the “Broadwalk on the Boardwalk” 
Committee Members
Debbie Cutler
Kathy Davison
Cheryl Doucette
Karen Gustafson
Jenn Harpel
Muriel Hogan
Connie Holdridge
Joanne Kempton
Kathy Wiz

Volunteer Spotlight: Brenda Blue

Read Brenda’s Story
Brenda Blue of New Castle, DE is a DBCC volunteer and trained peer mentor

Three years ago, Brenda Blue having just had breast reduction surgery, received some surprising news – she had breast cancer in both her breasts.  “I was shocked,” Brenda said.  “It’s one thing when you hear about it but it’s a whole new story when it’s you.”  With a diagnosis of Stage 0 Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) breast cancer, she had a bilateral mastectomy.

Brenda (left) with her mother and son

Diagnosis and treatment was emotionally difficult for Brenda although she is grateful for the strong support system provided by family and friends.  “I had support but most times, I just didn’t want people around since I was dealing with so many emotions.”

However, when she met other survivors without the same support system, she knew she wanted to do something for them.  “I just knew I needed to be more involved,” she said.  Brenda participated in several walks for breast cancer and each time would wear the name of someone she was walking in honor of or in memory of on the back of her shirt.  When she signed up for one breast cancer walk, she came across the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s website.  After browsing DBCC’s site, she called to sign up to be a volunteer and then later, a trained peer mentor.

“When you are first diagnosed, you don’t know what to expect…Being a peer mentor is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in a long time.”

A memorable moment soon after Brenda’s journey was the surprising coincidence that her neighbor was diagnosed with breast cancer.  “I remember being at the store when my neighbor called me in hysterics,” she said.  “When I got to her house she was standing at her kitchen sink crying because her hair was starting to fall out.  I didn’t have chemotherapy as part of my treatment so I didn’t know how to react.  But I realized then that I could be a support system for her.  I made her smile and made her feel good about herself.  I was able to give her hope.”  Brenda’s neighbor is now also a Peer Mentor and Volunteer for DBCC. 

“Being a breast cancer advocate has been rewarding because I love helping people and giving back,” Brenda said.  “DBCC has been great because they have such great programs where you can talk with other survivors.”  Brenda currently has two mentees who are beginning their breast cancer journey. 

For more information about the Peer Mentor Support Program, click here. For more information about volunteering, please click here. DBCC holds Peer Mentor Trainings and Volunteer Trainings in each county multiple times a year.Check the calendar for the next one near you!

DBCC welcomes seven new board members

The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) is pleased to announce that seven new members have joined its Board of Trustees.  These new members are serving their first three-year term that began in June 2011 and will continue until June 2014.  DBCC’s Board of Trustees consists of 26 members, 4 Trustees Emeritus, and 8 Advisory Board members.

Joining the DBCC Board of Trustees are: Gary Custis, Operations and Project Executive for AstraZeneca; Clara Higgins, DO, General Surgeon in private practice associated with Beebe Medical Center; Amy Norgate, General Manager of Tanger Factory Outlets in Rehoboth; Shalini Sawhney, Community Volunteer in the Dover area; W. Laird Stabler III, Esq., lawyer and President of Laird Stabler & Associates LLC; Jon Strasser, MD, Attending Physician at Christiana Care Health System and Radiation Oncologists PA; and Joseph L. Yacyshyn, Manager of Community Affairs at M&T Bank.

The DBCC Executive Committee would like to welcome those who have started their first term in leadership roles: Linda Powell, Director of Special Projects at the E.I. DuPont Company, as Board President; Patricia Key, CEO of Harrington Raceway, as Board 1st Vice President; and Nancy Froome, Vice President of SSD Technology Partners, Inc., as Board Treasurer. They join Executive Committee members Stacey Bacchieri, Greenville Giving Group, Board 2nd Vice President; and Chen Wang, Esq., Corporate Counsel & IP Leader at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Board Secretary.

The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition Board of Trustees meets quarterly to provide the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition with fiscal and operational guidance.

Photos of New Board Members
New Board Members: (top row left to right) Gary Custis; Clara Higgins, DO; Amy Norgate; Shalini Sawhney.  (Bottom row left to right) W. Laird Stabler III, Esq.; John Strasser, MD; Joseph L. Yacyshyn.  
List of all DBCC Board Members 
Officers: Linda Powell, President; Patricia Key, 1st Vice President; Stacey Bacchieri, 2nd Vice President; Nancy Froome, Treasurer; and Chen Wang, Esq., Secretary. 
Board Members: Nancy F. Blumberg, CPA/PFS, CFP; Susan Chinnici; Kathrina Chua, MD; Gary Custis; John E.B. du Pont; Tina Hayward; Clara Higgins, DO; Nanci Mayer-Mihalski; Jeanne Mell; Jacqueline Napoletano, MD; Wendy Newell, MD, FACS; Amy Norgate; Ciro Poppiti III, Esq.; Shalini Sawhney; Lisbeth L. Selsor; Maureen Sierocinski; W. Laird Stabler III, Esq.; John Strasser, MD; Okemah Strickland; Dennis R. Witmer, MD, FACS; and Joseph L. Yachyshyn. 
Trustee Emeritae: Marsha Barnett; Rena Howard; Maureen Lauterbach; and Wilma Yu, RN, BSN, MS, CEN.  
Advisory Board Members: The Hon. Patricia Blevins; Martha S. Carper; The Hon. Catherine Cloutier; Diana Dickson-Witmer, MD, FACS; The Hon. Bethany Hall-Long; The Hon. Margaret Rose Henry; Jonathan Saunders, MD; and The Hon. Liane Sorenson.

For more information about Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, its Board of Trustees, and programs, call (302) 778-1102 or visit debreastcancer.org.