DETROIT, Oct. 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute recognized 12 outstanding individuals and organizations at its 20th annual Heroes of Breast Cancer Awards event, held on Oct. 27 at the Max M. Fisher Music Center. More than 200 guests were in attendance to celebrate these honorees for their demonstrated leadership in raising awareness of breast cancer through education, the promotion of breast health, early detection and research breakthroughs, and inspirational stories of survivorship. Ann Delisi, radio and television personality and host of Ann Delisi's Essential Music on WDET 101.9 FM, served as emcee.
"Every year, we're privileged to shine light on those who inspire us by their selfless contributions to improve the lives of those faced with breast cancer," said Nick Karmanos, senior vice president, Institutional Relations, Karmanos Cancer Institute. "We congratulate our 2014 honorees, all incredibly deserving of this recognition.
"I'm especially pleased to congratulate Mo on The Maureen Keenan Meldrum Hope Award, named in her honor. Mo has given years of service to both Karmanos and Susan G. Komen. Her leadership, energy, compassion and commitment to help end breast cancer are unprecedented. She sets the bar high and goes the distance, inspiring us all to do the same."
According to the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, the metro Detroit tri-county area has a higher incidence of breast cancer, higher late-stage diagnosis and higher mortality rate. Those key indicators are somewhat higher compared to the rest of the nation, and significantly higher than the rest of Michigan.
"Despite great progress in the breast cancer fight, there are still too many who are diagnosed with late-stage disease, too many dying of the disease, and too many women going without their screening," said Keenan Meldrum, director, Breast Cancer Special Programs, Karmanos Cancer Institute; and chair, Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure.
"Like our 2014 Heroes honorees, we must continue to be vigilant for those in need of breast cancer services."
For more information on cancer services call 1-800 KARMANOS (1-800-527-6266) or visit www.karmanos.org.
Following are Karmanos Cancer Institute's 2014 Heroes of Breast Cancer
Karmanos Cancer Institute's 2014 Heroes of Breast Cancer Honorees
The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute recognized the following individuals and organizations at its 20th annual Heroes of Breast Cancer Awards event, held on Oct. 27. Karmanos has continued this annual tradition since 1995 during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to honor those who continue to raise awareness of breast cancer through education, the promotion of breast health, early detection and research breakthroughs, as well as inspirational stories of survivorship.
For helping to bring about a society that encourages people to speak out about their illness, where funding for breast cancer research is improving each year, and a society where more people are learning about breast cancer.
- Individual: Michigan Sen. Glenn S. Anderson (Dem. 6th District Westland)
More than three years ago, Sen. Glenn Anderson launched his initiative for a special Michigan license plate to raise money to fight breast cancer through the Michigan Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP). The BCCCP provides low-income women access to life-saving cancer screening services and follow-up care, including cancer treatment in some cases. He built support, helped by the advocacy efforts of hundreds who wrote and called their legislators in support of the proposed legislation. He raised the required $15,000 start-up cost through private donations, so no tax dollars would be used; and he worked with the Secretary of State's office to finalize preparations. On Sept. 15, the pink plate became a reality and is now available from the Secretary of State's offices and online License Plate Store.
"I am honored and pleased to accept this award on behalf of not just myself, but all those heroes that supported the legislations passage from outside the legislature. This is also for all the survivors (like my mother), people who wrote letters and made phone calls, those associated with Karmanos and Komen as well as my dedicated staff who shared my many frustrations getting the legislation passed, but didn't give up - Michelle, Scott and Josh." – Sen. Glenn Anderson
- Organization: McLaren Oakland Foundation's Sister & Sister Free Mammogram Program, of Pontiac
Since 2007, the McLaren Oakland Foundation's Sister & Sister Free Mammogram Program has promoted breast cancer awareness and given free mammograms for uninsured, at-risk and low-income women in Oakland County. Working with the faith community, the program gives peace of mind to the "sisters" faced with the threat of breast cancer as well as their families. Although more Caucasian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, more African-American and Hispanic women will die from the disease. Financially challenged and medically underserved women are more likely to have breast cancer detected at an advanced stage where treatment is less effective, more costly and the disease is much deadlier. Thanks to the support of media, donors and community partners, the program has provided more than 4,000 mammograms and identified over 50 breast cancers. Those who need additional services are navigated to follow-up care, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, provided free of charge by the McLaren Oakland Foundation.
"On behalf of the women who have benefited from the McLaren Oakland Foundation's Sister & Sister Free Mammogram Program, we thank the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute for this prestigious award. It is truly a blessing that nearly 5,000 less fortunate women were able to obtain a free mammogram screening and as a result of the screenings, more than 50 breast cancers were detected. Because of our Komen Race for the Cure grants, generous community partners, support from McLaren Oakland Foundation and Hospital, we are saving the lives of mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. We thank you for the partnership with Komen and with us, your outstanding work and for inspiring others to make a difference." – Teresa Rodges, Executive Director and Founder of McLaren Foundation's Sister & Sister Free Mammogram Program
For media work that communicates important messages about breast cancer.
- Individual Award: Kris G. Kelly of Berkley, Community Affairs Manager, WWJ-TV WKBD-TV Detroit
Kris Kelly makes the calls about the hundreds of good causes people want her stations to cover. Thanks to her, CBS Television is an annual media partner of the Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure, and continues to support the work of the Karmanos Cancer Institute. Kelly recognizes that CBS viewers need up-to-date health information year-round, well beyond major awareness events or a designated month focused on a particular health issue. Kelly makes sure the stations' coverage is diverse and compelling, showcasing programs and organizations doing great work benefitting the community. Whether through public service announcements or programming, such as Street Beat and Michigan Matters, Kelly's expertise shines through as does her commitment to help build a healthier community.
"I am so honored to be considered a Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute Hero of Breast Cancer, but the true heroes are the ones who struggle with this disease every day, the family who supports them, and the incredible doctors, researchers, and medical staff who are fighting alongside them to find cures and better treatments. I've been blessed to work for CBS Detroit and CW50 Detroit who allow me to share those stories with the public and bring attention to the wonderful work that is being done."– Kris Kelly, Community Affairs Manager, CBS Detroit/CW50 Detroit.
- Organization: CBS Radio Detroit, of Southfield
The CBS Radio Detroit stations: WWJ Newsradio 950; 97.1 The Ticket; 99.5 WYCD; 98.7 AMP Radio; 104.3 WOMC; and CBS Sports Radio 1270 WXYT, are all doing their part in the fight against breast cancer. Each station recognizes its role in educating their listeners, encouraging them to take action and be proactive about their health. CBS Radio Detroit is a major media sponsor of the Detroit Tigers Pink Out the Park, an awareness event that unites fans wearing pink to fill Comerica Park in recognition of those who are battling breast cancer or those we have lost to the disease. The event raises funds for breast cancer research at the Karmanos Cancer Institute. The stations' ongoing promotions, compelling interviews and social media posts emphasize the importance of screening, early detection, and research. Radio talent volunteer their time to participate in the pre-game program. CBS Radio Detroit is also a major media partner of the Komen Detroit Race for the Cure, delivering extensive on-air and online coverage, including breast cancer facts and promotion of Michigan's largest breast cancer event. Throughout the year, as cancer news emerges, CBS Radio Detroit welcomes Karmanos experts to provide up-to-date information that benefits their listeners.
"It's our pleasure to support the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and their efforts to find a cure for breast cancer. CBS Radio Detroit is proud to work directly with Karmanos and the Detroit Tigers to make Pink out the Park a premiere event during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's the honor of 97.1 The Ticket, 99.5 WYCD, 98.7 AMP Radio, 104.3 WOMC, Sports Radio 1270 WXYT and WWJ News Radio 950 to receive the Heroes of Breast Cancer Media Award." – Rob Davidek, News Director, CBS/WWJ Newsradio 950
For dedication of resources and talents to benefit the cause of breast cancer.
- Brogan & Partners of Birmingham
Brogan & Partners is a creative agency that works to find marketing solutions that help brands engage and connect its consumers. How Brogan & Partners does this can make a difference in the consumer's experience, including how they engage in charitable giving supporting a cause like breast cancer. Brogan & Partners works closely with the Karmanos Cancer Institute to communicate Karmanos' mission and its ability to offer the most advanced, state-of-the-art treatments, often not offered at other hospitals. Brogan also contributed pro-bono services to the Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure resulting in compelling ads and other marketing materials. Brogan's contributions were instrumental in the success of the 2014 Komen Detroit Race, which granted nearly $900,000 to area breast cancer programs, and made a substantial contribution to breast cancer research.
"Brogan & Partners is honored to be included and recognized by Karmanos Cancer Institute as a hero of breast cancer. Our work and dedication comes from our passion to raise awareness, to raise money and to see a world without breast cancer." – Ellyn Craine Davidson, Managing Partner at Brogan & Partners Convergence Marketing
COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
For assisting in efforts to reach the community with the importance of breast cancer early detection, cancer care, and/or survivorship at large in a volunteer capacity.
- Individual: Hope Bradford of Davisburg, IT Solution Consultant, Kelly Services
It takes a champion to effect big change in a large organization. Breast cancer survivor and IT professional Hope Bradford took on the role of captain for the Kelly Services' Komen Detroit Race for the Cure team six years ago, building large teams and encouraging everyone to fundraise. Bradford herself has raised $55,000 in the past six years. At Kelly Services, she initiated craft and cupcake sales, jean days and engaged executives to wash employees' cars with donations benefiting the Komen Detroit Race. She convinced Kelly to sponsor the Race Children's Area. As a result of Bradford's contagious enthusiasm, Kelly Services has invested $135,000 in the breast cancer fight. Bradford also visits Michigan legislators to advocate for better breast cancer public policy. She gets the attention of policymakers sharing her story: diagnosed at 39 with 2 young children. Bradford does all of this as a volunteer, supported by her family and colleagues, and she humbly feels that she isn't doing anything special but, of course, she is.
"I am honored to be recognized for such a distinguished award but my first reaction was … 'I am really not doing anything special but just trying to create awareness about how to detect breast cancer earlier, help those that are fighting the disease or trying to prevent others from having their friends, family or their selves be told that they have breast cancer.' I also believe by helping fund research for breast cancer other cancers may also benefit from this research which makes me believe our mission is bigger than eradicating breast cancer but finding how we can eliminate other cancers as well." – Hope Bradford
- Organization: Welcome Missionary Baptist Church of Pontiac
Pontiac's Welcome Missionary Baptist Church is proud of its holistic approach, ministering to and strengthening the whole family – offering a variety of ministries to gain spiritual, financial and physical growth. The church is located in a community with many challenges, including health issues and access to care. Pastor Douglas Jones and Health Ministry Leader Erlene Dowell have organized an annual spring event called "Healthy Affair." Working together with local hospitals, health clinics and private practitioners, the initiative serves hundreds of community members and offers numerous free health care services. Free clinical breast exams are offered through the help of volunteer OB/GYNs. The church works with the McLaren Oakland Sister & Sister Free Mammogram Program and assists with scheduling and follow-ups so that women in the congregation get their mammograms. To reinforce the importance of early detection, the church offers educational sessions throughout the year to help dispel cancer myths. The goal is to encourage better screening compliance, detect more cancers at earlier stages and achieve a healthier community. Pastor Douglas Jones accepted the award.
"I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me." Philippians 4:13 – Welcome Missionary Baptist Church
COMPASSIONATE CAREGIVER AWARD
A health care professional whose treatment of breast cancer patients has been marked by exceptional technical skill, combined with sensitivity and compassion.
- Nancy Iles, LMSW, of Grosse Pointe Park, Oncology Social Worker, Karmanos Cancer Institute
Nancy Iles is an oncology social worker at the Karmanos Cancer Institute and a member of the Social Work and Supportive Services Department. She and her co-workers are an important part of Karmanos patient care, available to patients and their families throughout all phases of the cancer journey, providing support, education, advice and assistance with decision making. A true professional, Iles demonstrates compassion and sensitivity to every situation. A colleague described her as having an uncanny ability to see the whole patient and get to the heart of the problem. Iles provides the calming voice that can help in the most difficult situation. Working in a comprehensive cancer center that's committed to the highest quality of care with some of the most advanced cancer cases, difficult situations are not uncommon. Iles handles each situation with integrity and compassion. She takes the time to meet with the patient and their family to listen, help calm the anxiousness, answer any questions and help lessen their fears. In addition to extensive training and years of experience, Iles is described as one of the kindest, nicest people who shines with peace amid the utter chaos that cancer can bring. Iles truly exemplifies the Karmanos Compassionate Caregiver Award.
"I am very honored to receive this award. I want to share this award with all the wonderful staff at Karmanos who provide compassionate care every day." – Nancy Iles, LMSW
THE GERI LESTER COURAGE AWARDS
An individual whose battle with breast cancer has been an inspiration to family, friends and community.
Geri Lester was one of the leaders of the Komen Detroit Race for the Cure® since its 1992 inception, and was integral to the development of Karmanos' Heroes of Breast Cancer Program. Geri dedicated herself to bringing supportive and educational services to the metropolitan Detroit cancer community. She was a founding member of Gilda's Club of Metro Detroit. A 2002 Heroes of Breast Cancer Courage awardee, Geri always saw the good in others, the gifts of everyday living and the hope in every situation. Geri lost her 20-year battle to breast cancer in May 2003, but her brave and cheerful attitude in the face of her disease remains an inspiration to us all. Presenting this year's Geri Lester Courage awards was Geri's daughter Stefany Lester Freeman.
- In Memory: Susan MacNeill Lichtenberg, Ph.D., formerly of Farmington
Susan MacNeill Lichtenberg Ph.D., died in Feb. 2014 at the age of 50. She was a loving daughter, sister, aunt, wife and mother; a neuropsychologist whose patients depended on her; a researcher on mental health and rehabilitation in the elderly; and a valiant advocate fighting metastatic breast cancer. Before and after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2010, Dr. Lichtenberg focused on all that was dear to her and made sure life was full and purposeful. She loved the symphony and the arts, and was an avid hiker and tennis player. She poured energy and passion into advocating for metastatic disease. Above all, she loved and cared for her family. When she was diagnosed, her cancer had already spread to her liver, back and hip. But she took Karmanos Cancer Institute's Dr. Michael Simon's words to heart: "Cancer is devastating news. But you have to come to think of living with it instead of dying with it." After surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and a clinical trial, Susan described metastatic breast cancer as a roller coaster. She told the Detroit Free Press a few years ago: "Some days you just want to crawl in bed, pull the covers up and give up. But then you remember you have to get the kids to school, the laundry has to get done. You have to make a choice almost every day to be involved in the world and get the most joy out of it that you can." When Dr. Lichtenberg could no longer jog, she took up gardening. When she couldn't play tennis, she coached her children. Daily walks with her husband Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., became more treasured than ever. Monthly support groups reminded her that she was not alone. And when Dr. Lichtenberg died, memorial contributions were directed to Karmanos' patients unable to afford treatment. Susan was, once again, touching the lives of others in a significant way. As a result of her groundwork, metastatic breast cancer took center stage as Dr. Lichtenberg's compelling story, Forever Fighters, was showcased again in a Detroit Free Press front page feature story earlier this year, picked up nationally. In her special way, Dr. Lichtenberg continues to be a forever fighter. Dr. Peter Lichtenberg accepted the award.
The following quote exemplifies how Susan lived:
"Give joy, smiles, happiness, goodness and kindness to every person you meet." – Lailah Gifty Akita
- In Honor: Jenny Stewart of Ferndale
For those who think breast cancer is an older woman's disease, Jenny Stewart's story is an eye-opener. Young women don't typically get breast cancer and when they do, it's often aggressive. A healthy, fit 24-year old with no family history of the disease, Stewart expected a routine doctor's visit last year. It turned out that Stewart had breast cancer. Despite her shock and fear, she acted quickly. Being young, she didn't have adequate medical coverage. She was turned away by the first hospital she called. When she reached out to the Karmanos Cancer Institute, Stewart leaned about the Helping Hands program, funded by the Komen Detroit Race for the Cure. The program helps people like Stewart who are too young to qualify for other programs and who are uninsured or underinsured. Stewart shared her personal story in a television interview leading up to the 2014 Komen Detroit Race and was interviewed again at the Race. Her heartfelt story magnified the fact that even young women can get breast cancer, but help is available. Stewart is doing well now, and with the support of her loved ones, gained the strength to fight, to speak out for other young survivors and to rally the support of others to raise funds for programs like Helping Hands.
"I am so grateful to be honored with this award. If it weren't for the generous, compassionate, and loving people who support me at Karmanos and at home, I never would have made it this far. Stopping breast cancer in its tracks at age 24 was something I couldn't imagine tackling in my wildest dreams. Now that being a cancer survivor is my new reality, I plan on helping create awareness and hope until cancer is no longer an accepted and tolerated evil. With the help of strong, beautiful women and men in my life, I am inspired to speak about the daily challenges in order to help others who cannot." – Jenny Stewart
DR. MICHAEL J. BRENNAN SCIENTIFIC DISTINCTION AWARD
For demonstrated leadership in breast cancer research.
Dr. Michael J. Brennan served as President of the Michigan Cancer Foundation, the forerunner of the Karmanos Cancer Institute. Dr. Brennan died on Sept. 22, 2010 at the age of 89. He was a nationally-renowned oncologist when he took the helm of Michigan Cancer Foundation in 1966, serving as its president until 199l. Under his leadership, MCF became the country's 20th comprehensive cancer center in 1978, a distinction maintained to this day. Dr. Brennan was a pioneer in cancer research, a mentor and inspiration, who helped put Karmanos on the map as a leader in compassionate and comprehensive cancer care.
- Karin List, Ph.D., of Royal Oak, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine
Dr. List is recognized for her exceptional achievements in the field of membrane proteases and cancer. Proteases are a family of enzymes that cut other proteins. Tumor cells produce large amounts of proteases, including matriptase that sits on the surface of the cells. In the past, it was thought that the main function of proteases is to cut the barriers and connective tissue around the tumor, creating a highway so tumor cells can invade surrounding tissue, or metastasize to distant sites. When Dr. List's research team investigated the role of matriptase in breast cancer, they found that this protease does a lot more. Using human breast cancer cells and pre-clinical animal models, Dr. List and her team found that matriptase not only helps breast cancer move, it also turns on a critical signal in breast cancer cells to make the cells grow faster and become more invasive. This new understanding makes scientists re-examine how cancer drugs are designed and whether they could identify new protease targets that slow down tumor growth and invasion. The results from these studies may open a new path in cancer therapy. Dr. List's studies for the past 15 years are examples of how new findings at the very fundamental molecular level can open up avenues for new therapeutic opportunities. The pursuit of this new understanding in science fuels new discoveries and Dr. List's work is a prime example of that. In addition to leading a research lab, Dr. List is a teacher and a mentor. She lectures in graduate and medical courses and trains students and post-doctoral fellows, developing the next generation or scientists.
"I am honored to receive this award, and would like to share it with the team of extraordinary students, fellows, colleagues and collaborators I work with on a daily basis. We are fortunate to have an outstanding environment here for multidisciplinary breast cancer research and for training future top quality scientists and clinicians. Also, we are truly grateful for the continued support and inspiration we receive from the Breast Cancer Special Programs/ Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure at KCI. Together we work towards identifying new diagnostic tools and drugs with the goal of improving treatment, patient care, and quality of life for women and men affected by breast cancer." – Karin List, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Department of Pharmacology, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University
THE MAUREEN KEENAN MELDRUM HOPE AWARD - INAUGURAL
For unprecedented commitment, compassion and demonstrated leadership that engages, supports and inspires others in the fight to end breast cancer.
- Maureen (Mo) Keenan Meldrum of Lathrup Village, chair, Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure; and director, Breast Cancer Special Programs, Karmanos Cancer Institute
A former patient, Maureen (Mo) Keenan Meldrum has worked at Karmanos Cancer Institute since 1995; and has served as Chair of the Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure since 2001. She's been a breast cancer survivor since 1992, Detroit's inaugural Komen Race. Under her tenure, Komen Detroit revenue grew by over $21M bringing the total since 1992 to $27M. Since 2002, more than 300,000 people have participated in the annual event. Meldrum's tenacity and resilience help make the Komen Detroit Race one of the top tier events in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Series and widely known as "one of the best days in the city of Detroit." Many traditions were initiated under her leadership: survivors dancing the pink carpet; Survivor Trolley; Children's Area; Researchers @ the Race; a focus on Metastatic Breast Cancer, Memorial Site and many more. Meldrum's collaborative efforts have engaged elected officials, corporations, community groups, print and broadcast media and thousands of supporters, all in the effort to help end breast cancer and encouraging more resources to help the underserved. Meldrum serves on Wayne State University's Human Investigation Committee's Institutional Review Board, is a member of Michigan Cancer Consortium, is on the planning committee of the Translational Research Cancer Centers Consortium and volunteers as a patient advocate working with researchers and clinicians. Her demonstrated commitment to serve those in need of cancer services, her ability to unite a community to significantly impact lives for the better, and her compassion to listen and help those touched by this disease, continues to inspire and bring hope to countless others.
"I am remarkably fortunate to represent both Karmanos and Komen in this fight. In this job, I have been surrounded by goodness, brilliance and bravery. I am frankly astonished that this award carries my name and I owe huge thanks to everyone who has taught me so much and worked by my side."
– Mo Keenan Meldrum, Chair, Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure and Director of Breast Cancer Special Programs, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Local Presenting Sponsor.
About the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
Located in mid-town Detroit, Michigan, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, a subsidiary of McLaren Health Care, is one of 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Karmanos is among the nation's best cancer centers. Through the commitment of 1,000 staff, including nearly 300 physicians and researchers on faculty at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, Karmanos strives to prevent, detect and eradicate all forms of cancer. Its long-term partnership with the WSU School of Medicine enhances the collaboration of critical research and academics related to cancer care. Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., is the Institute's president and chief executive officer. For more information call 1-800-KARMANOS or go to www.karmanos.org.
SOURCE Karmanos Cancer Institute