Archive for October, 2011

Scranton Couple Donates to PBCC in Lieu of Wedding Favors

Posted By on October 19th, 2011 at 9:19 am | 36 comments.

Newlyweds Jennifer Telesco & Matthew Loftus, Jr. who are both dedicated teachers in the Scranton area, felt their wedding day was made even more special because of their choice to make a donation to the PBCC in lieu of favors. “Matthew and I have had many family members, friends, and colleagues fight a courageous fight against breast cancer. We were honored to do something to join them in such an important fight,” said Jennifer.

Their gift helps the PBCC continue its work on behalf of women and their families with breast cancer. Thanks to Jennifer and Matthew for their generosity and best wishes for a lifetime of love and happiness! If you would like to make a donation to the PBCC in lieu of wedding, bridal shower or baby shower favors – or to celebrate or commemorate any other occasion such as an anniversary, birthday, or reunion – contact us for details. We will gladly provide you with information about our organization and may be able to provide you with giveaways for your guests.

Pink Ribbon Stories Now Available

Posted By on October 19th, 2011 at 9:18 am | 33 comments.

Tammy Milller is an international speaker, coach, and author. She also happens to be a PBCC supporter, volunteer, and breast cancer survivor. That is the motivation behind her recent compilation Pink Ribbon Stories: A Celebration of Life, which is a collection of stories, poems, and literary works submitted by survivors and anyone else touched by breast cancer. The book is now available with proceeds benefiting the PBCC! You can either download to your favorite e-reader or purchase a paperback copy.

The book is guaranteed to take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, leaving you laughing, crying, and inspired. Downloads are $9.99 and paperback copies are $15. Special thanks to Tammy for pouring her heart and soul into this project and choosing to work with the PBCC!

 

Survivor Spotlight: Karen Byers, Cumberland County

Posted By on October 19th, 2011 at 9:17 am | 43 comments.

When I was diagnosed 22 years ago, things were quite different. Sometimes I feel like I had breast cancer in the dark ages. And in many ways, I did. There was very little information. This was pre-internet. The library had books on the subject but they were medical journals that I couldn’t understand. Now I see women who come through our support group and I’m amazed at how informed they are because of the internet. In 1989 there weren’t even articles in women’s magazines. Now hardly a month goes by without features about new studies.

I became involved with the PBCC at its very beginning. Four years after my diagnosis I was invited to a meeting about a new organization that was just starting up. That was a good year, 1993. The PBCC was created and so was the ABC’S (All Breast Cancer Survivors) support group in Carlisle, and I’m still very involved with both groups. The PBCC gave me the wings I needed to fly and to do more than I had done before. I was able to speak to groups, become involved in advocacy, and to be a helping hand to newly diagnosed women. That’s when I really blossomed.

People ask me why I’m still involved with support group after so many years. It’s my way of showing appreciation for what was offered to me. With a diagnosis of any kind, you can crawl in a corner and have a lifetime pity party. I opted not to do that. My kids were 14 and 20 years old so I could talk with them and share whatever the doctor told me. My heart breaks for moms whose small children only know that mommy is sick. I knew everyone around me would respond to whatever way I accepted the diagnosis. My theory is when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I made a lot of lemonade.

I discovered a lump in August 1988 and had a mammogram right away. It seemed to be nothing more than just a thickening. I was scheduled to see my doctor again in January and that suited me just fine. After all, my husband Ralph coached soccer and my son Mark played. So I wanted to get through soccer season, Thanksgiving and Christmas first. But before Christmas my breasts became engorged and the nipple inverted. I knew I had a problem. A biopsy confirmed that the milk ducts had filled with a malignancy.

I had a modified radical mastectomy at the age of 44. I had positive nodes and underwent six months of chemotherapy, 12 treatments twice a month. I was fortunate to have a surgeon who was informative and a hand-holder, a very understanding and compassionate person.

I learn something from the incredible group of women in the ABC’S every time we get together. I learn from their drive, and from how they fight to make things better for those who will follow. I’ve also been awed by the dear friends we’ve lost from our group and how courageous they were. They taught us to be brave and to look at life as a gift and to continue to care about others.

I want other women to know that they are not alone, especially in Pennsylvania. First of all, you have the PBCC. And you have free treatment for breast cancer. We are very blessed in this state. Having breast cancer is like joining a club… a group that you never really want to join, but once diagnosed you are grateful for the women who take your hand and walk you through it. They are your friends for life.

Karen Byers has been a PBCC volunteer since 1993. She coordinates the registration booth at the conference with the ABC’S, and represents Cumberland County in our traveling photo exhibit. Karen was a past recipient of the Shining Light Award at the PBCC Conference. She loves spending time with the lights of her life, her grandchildren. 

Legislative Update: Senator Mensch Sponsors Bills on Breast Density Screening

Posted By on October 19th, 2011 at 9:16 am | 51 comments.

The PBCC has been working with PA State Senator Bob Mensch (Montgomery County) in his efforts to address the issue of breast density in breast cancer screening through two bills to be introduced this session. The first would require mammography facilities to provide their patients with pertinent information regarding breast density in the form of a notice.  The second bill would require insurers to cover ultrasound screening and magnetic resonance imaging if a mammogram reveals dense breast tissue. Co-sponsors are needed to support this legislation, so contact your State Senator in Harrisburg today.

PBCC President & Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy said, “This legislation is an important step in making certain that women with dense breast tissue are not overlooked when it comes to breast cancer screening. The PBCC thanks Senator Mensch for introducing this legislation and we pledge our support to making sure these bills become law here in Pennsylvania.”

To view Senator Mensch’s co-sponsorship memo, click here. The deadline has been extended until the end of October, so there is still time for Senators to sign-on as a co-sponsor. Encourage your State Senator to call Senator Mensch’s office to co-sponsor this legislation. 

First Lady Susan Corbett and the PBCC Turn Capitol Fountain Pink

Posted By on October 19th, 2011 at 9:15 am | 111 comments.

2011 Pink Fountain Kick-Off

October is breast cancer awareness month, which is evident when you spot the Capitol Fountain in Harrisburg in its pink glory! First Lady Susan Corbett, who produced a video for the PBCC, was joined by Sheri Phillips, the Secretary of the Department of General Services, PBCC President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy, and PBCC Board Member and breast cancer survivor Debbie Freer for a kick-off event unveiling the pink fountain at the rear of the State Capitol Building.

Turning the Capitol fountain pink for breast cancer awareness month has become an annual event. The month-long pink fountain is sure to serve as a vibrant reminder of the importance and significance of breast cancer awareness to all who see it.

PBCC Awards $100,000 Research Grant at Conference

Posted By on October 19th, 2011 at 9:14 am | 123 comments.

Those who were expecting a day of educational and motivational workshops, exciting speakers and inspirational stories, got that and more at the PA Breast Cancer Coalition Conference this year! The PBCC awarded an additional $100,000 grant to researcher Dr. Craig Meyers in order to further his breakthrough research that may ultimately hold the key to a cure.

Dr. Meyers, a researcher at Penn State College of Medicine, and his team were among those surprised by the grant award. His initial discovery of a virus that kills breast cancer cells in a laboratory setting was funded by a grant from the PBCC’s Refunds for Research program. PBCC President & Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy described the discovery as “what the world has been waiting for.” The PBCC’s $100,000 contribution will enable the research to continue while additional funding is sought to continue the study.

In addition to the surprise grant award presentation, the conference provided the hundreds of attendees with the opportunity to take part in educational workshops, listen to knowledgeable speakers, recognize outstanding awardees, enjoy a delicious luncheon, and browse vendor tables. Thank you to PBCC Conference Honorary Chair First Lady Susan Corbett, our 2011 award recipients, and all the sponsors, exhibitors and attendees for joining us in making history at this year’s conference!

Turning Breast Cancer Awareness Into Action

Posted By on October 19th, 2011 at 9:13 am | 45 comments.

When we started the PBCC in 1993, breast cancer was talked about in hushed tones. Breast cancer survivors didn’t have organizations or support groups to help them through their experience.  Fortunately, things have since changed. Eighteen years later, the PBCC and many other organizations remain devoted to the fight against breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month has grown into an internationally recognized phenomenon, where companies make nearly anything you can think of in pink to promote breast cancer awareness.

At the PBCC, we are pleased to partner with companies like Martin’s Potato Chips, who have made an annual tradition of producing special pink ribbon packaging for Breast Cancer Awareness Month each year and donating a portion of the proceeds to the PBCC.

We are honored that hundreds of individuals have given of their time and talent to think about ways to raise money for the work of the PBCC just by doing what they love.

We are inspired by the hardworking researchers here in Pennsylvania who look to unlock the mysteries of breast cancer in order to develop better methods of detection, improved treatments, and ultimately a cure for this disease.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to highlight the fight against breast cancer and turn awareness into action. We at the PBCC believe it is ultimately a means to an end. The goal of the PBCC is and always has been to find a cure for breast cancer so our daughters won’t have to. Until that happens, we remain committed to supporting research that will help lead us to a cure and working tirelessly on behalf of those diagnosed with breast cancer and their families. Join the PBCC in turning awareness into action.

PA Breast Cancer Coalition Gives Additional $100,000 Grant to Continue Cutting Edge Research

Posted By on October 11th, 2011 at 3:34 pm | 33 comments.

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) gave an additional $100,000 research grant to Dr. Craig Meyers and his team at Penn State College of Medicine today. The announcement came at the 2011 PA Breast Cancer Coalition Conference held at the Hilton Harrisburg attended by over 1,000 people. This grant marks the single-largest research contribution made by the PBCC in its 18-year history and it follows a 2007 PBCC Pennsylvania Income Tax Refund for Research grant of $35,000 to Dr. Meyers.

Through this PBCC funded research, Dr. Meyers discovered that adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2) kills breast cancer cells in every stage in the laboratory in tissue culture dishes. AAV2 is a nondisease-causing virus that kills human breast cancer cells and often infects humans. Preliminary research using AAV2 to treat breast cancer cells in a mouse model has also yielded promising results but needs further study.

“I’ve been working with this significant nondisease-causing virus that kills human breast cancer cells in the laboratory because we know that breast cancer has a complex structure and differing types,” said Dr. Craig Meyers, professor of microbiology and immunology at Penn State College of Medicine.

Referring to these exciting new findings as, “what, for decades, the medical community has worked towards and the rest of the world has been waiting for,” Pat Halpin-Murphy, president and founder of the PBCC said that her pioneering organization is thrilled to be part of Dr. Meyers’discovery of a virus that kills all stages and all types of breast cancer cells in the laboratory.

“Breast cancer survivors, their families, and all girls and women and those that care for them look forward to the final phase of this research–clinical trials with humans. While that final step may still be years away, it gives us hope that we will discover a cure so our daughters and granddaughters won’t have to. Dr. Meyers’ break-through is a real-world example that research is our best weapon in battling breast cancer,” added Halpin-Murphy.

Halpin-Murphy went on to say that “each day, 32 women in Pennsylvania are diagnosed with breast cancer and over 2,000 die every year from the devastating disease.”

“We are extremely grateful to the Coalition for their generous support of Dr. Meyers’ research,” said Richard J. Courtney, Ph.D., chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Penn State College of Medicine. “The recent findings of his research group are very exciting; however, much additional research remains to be done. This grant will be instrumental in helping Dr. Meyers and his colleagues to further advance this highly promising breast cancer research ongoing within his laboratory.”

The PBCC established and oversees the Refunds for Breast Cancer Research program, which uses donations from Pennsylvanians to fund vital research grants across the state. State residents may contribute all or part of their state income tax refund to the Refunds for Research program to help find a cure. To date, Pennsylvanians have donated over $2.8 million with the average donation from taxpayers being $8. Thanks to the PBCC’s program, nearly 70 research grants have been awarded to outstanding Pennsylvania scientists.

The PBCC represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants. The PBCC is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure now…so our daughters and granddaughters won’t have to. For more information, visit www.PABreastCancer.org or call 800-377-8828.

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Media Contact: Kevin Smith, 717-903-8783