Author Archive

Hope for the Future: Supporting Outstanding Breast Cancer Researchers

Posted By on January 15th, 2015 at 10:30 am | 3 comments.

patheadshotforplBy Pat Halpin-Murphy, President & Founder

Busy doesn’t even begin to describe a day in the life of a cancer researcher. Between studying cells, conducting lab trials and applying for grants, they work ’round the clock in their search for a cure.
And they need our help. Desperately. You can donate directly to Pennsylvania scientists through the PBCC’s Refunds for Research campaign. How? Find line 32 on your state income tax form and choose code “A.” The average donation is $7 and every penny makes a difference. Take action and donate your refund to breast cancer researchers in PA. Together, we can eliminate this disease and find a cure for breast cancer now… so our daughters won’t have to.

In 2015, the PBCC will fund $50,000 grants to each of these three researchers:
Alessandro Fatatis, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology, Drexel University College of Medicine
Xianxin Hua, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Cancer Biology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Mauricio Reginato, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Drexel University College of Medicine

Join the PBCC Wednesday, January 28 at 10:00am at Drexel University as we award our first two research grants to Dr. Fatatis and Dr. Reginato! To RSVP, email Erica@PABreastCancer.org or call 800-377-8828 x2307.

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PBCC Volunteer, Advocate Finds “ABCs” of Survivorship

Posted By on January 15th, 2015 at 10:29 am | 0 comments.
Cheryl Delsite (left) enjoys sharing laughs with friend and fellow ABCs support group member Karen Byers

Cheryl Delsite (left) enjoys sharing laughs with friend and fellow ABCs support group member Karen Byers

Cheryl Delsite, Northumberland County

At 29, Cheryl Delsite had a modified radical mastectomy to save the radiation from hitting her heart.   She found the lump on her breast in 1990 and didn’t do anything about it until six months later when she went for a yearly checkup. Her doctor sent her for her first mammogram. The lump didn’t show up, so he sent her to a surgeon who thought it might be fibroid tissue. They scheduled surgery to remove it.  The whole time he was saying “You’re too young, there’s no family history…”, but then the preliminary pathology report confirmed that…  She had breast cancer.

“I chose a modified radical mastectomy, because where the lump was any radiation would have hit my heart.  I had just learned that I was pregnant and then I had a miscarriage. When I started treatment, I was told I would probably not be able to have children because of the chemotherapy. Three years later I got pregnant with my daughter Meghan. You should have seen the doctor’s face when I told him!”  Five years after Meghan was born, Cheryl got pregnant with Morgan and then the next year had her son Collin. Now Meghan is a junior at Penn State Altoona, Morgan is a junior at Connections Academy, and Collin is a freshman at Northumberland Christian.

In 2000, Cheryl’s implant ruptured. At that time insurers were only required to cover reconstruction up to six years after breast surgery, although two years later the PBCC’s follow-up legislation would lift that time limit. Her insurance company agreed to cover removing the ruptured implant, but refused to cover the cost of replacing it. Cheryl would have had to go back to wearing a prosthesis.  She reached out to family and friends for advice. Her sister-in-law was working for then Attorney General Tom Corbett. He referred her to First Lady Michele Ridge’s chief of staff. Mrs. Ridge was the PBCC Honorary Chair and she put Cheryl in touch with the PBCC. The PBCC advocated on her behalf to the insurance company. The insurer reversed their original ruling and covered the surgery.

“Through the PBCC I became connected with the ABC’S (All Breast Cancer Survivors) support group and I’m happy to travel from Sunbury to Carlisle PA for our meetings. I love these ladies. Each one of them is in a different stage of their cancer journey and they’re always willing to encourage one another.”

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Cheryl shows off her pink ribbon tattoo at our PA Breast Cancer Coalition Conference.

Cheryl celebrated the 10th anniversary of her breast cancer diagnosis by getting a pink ribbon tattoo on her ankle!

On March 1st Cheryl will be at Penn State for Pink Zone. The first year she went with her daughter, her niece, a cousin and a friend. Now this year there are 40 of them going … all survivors and family members. Cheryl says they have a ball!

“I meet a lot of women when they are newly diagnosed and I tell them to be their own best advocates. Ask questions, get second opinions, and talk with survivors.”
Cheryl and her husband Kevin live with their family in Sunbury PA. She’s worked as administrative assistant for the City of Sunbury in the mayor’s office since 1996. In 2014, Cheryl volunteered over 25 hours for the PBCC at the conference, at the Ta Ta Trot, and by representing the PBCC at a number of other events throughout the state.

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Calling All Survivors! Share Your Story in our New Photo Exhibit

Posted By on January 15th, 2015 at 10:29 am | 0 comments.

PhotoExhibitNewforplThe PA Breast Cancer Coalition is unveiling a brand new photo exhibit and we would love to feature YOU! Our photo exhibit travels the state each year, educating women and families about the importance of early detection. Each exhibit panel features real women who have battled breast cancer from each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Would you like to participate?

If you would like to be featured in our new photo exhibit, please click on the form here, tell us a little about yourself, your diagnosis and what you would like to share with other women facing breast cancer.  Send the completed form and a high resolution photo to Stacy@PABreastCancer.org or  mail your information and photo to 2397 Quentin Road, Suite B Lebanon, PA 17042.

Thank you for your interest in participating!  The new exhibit will be on display this summer!

Healthy PA Accepting Applications for Health Insurance Coverage

Posted By on January 15th, 2015 at 10:28 am | 0 comments.

healthypapic2forplAre you a Pennsylvania resident living without insurance? If so, you may qualify for Healthy PA, a private coverage option available in our state. Healthy PA expands Medicaid insurance coverage for uninsured adults between the ages of 21 and 64 who earn below 133% of the poverty line. A family of 4 must earn less than $31,728 to qualify.

Click here to find out if you meet the income guidelines.

Click here to learn more about Healthy PA and enrollment.

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Westmoreland County Goes Pink, Unites to Support Survivors

Posted By on January 15th, 2015 at 10:27 am | 0 comments.

Westmoreland Walks

WestmorelandteamsforplOctober was a busy month for our supporters in Westmoreland County! For the 13th consecutive year, Westmoreland Walks blew us away with the Breast Cancer Walk and “Get your PINK On” awareness events throughout their communities. In total, Westmoreland Walks raised over $42,000 for the PA Breast Cancer Coalition and our programs and services for breast cancer survivors! The PBCC would like to thank the Westmoreland Walks Board of Directors President Kathy Brown, PBCC Board Member Kelly Urbani, and ALL of the ladies who work tirelessly on this event throughout the year to make it such a success! These volunteers truly continue to make a difference one step at a time for survivors, families, researchers and breast cancer advocates! This event also inspires others in the Westmoreland County community to contribute during breast cancer awareness month.

 

Greater Latrobe Aqua Club
GreaterlatrobeforplFor the past 5 years, the Greater Latrobe Aqua Club has held a Swim-a-Thon, with proceeds benefiting the PBCC. This year, under the leadership of club President Beth Jackson, they donated $2,313 from their event! Westmoreland County has now grown to host a whole handful of annual events that benefit the PBCC! We are grateful for this tight-knit, community-minded region in Western PA!

Hand Knits for Hope: Free Hats for Cancer Patients

Posted By on January 15th, 2015 at 10:26 am | 0 comments.

bopeepsbonnetsBo Peep’s Bonnets is the creative result of a Lancaster County daughter’s search for stylish hats for her mother to wear during her chemo treatment. Danielle (a.k.a. Bo Peep) decided to fill the need she saw for winter hats by using her own knitting skills to come up with beautiful hats designs. Now, several years later, Bo Peep’s Bonnets offers a free hat to any woman experiencing hair loss through chemotherapy treatments. How can you apply?

Simply fill out the request: http://bopeepsbonnets.com/handknitsforhope/ You even get to choose from a dozen different designs!

And for you knitters, a few free hat patterns:
http://bopeepsbonnets.com/free-chemo-hat-patterns/

Our 2014 Grassroots Partners: Making an Impact Every Day

Posted By on December 15th, 2014 at 12:26 pm | 168 comments.

Pat-with-grandchildren-at-Isaac's-for-PLYou walked. You trotted. You swam. You rode the trails. You even brewed pink beer. And ALL of you have made a difference. I’m talking about our PA Breast Cancer Coalition Grassroots Partners. It is because of your hard work, dedication, passion and creativity that we are able to reach out and provide help to thousands of women and men facing breast cancer across Pennsylvania.

– Since January 1, the PBCC has sent more than 564 free Friends Like Me care packages to recently diagnosed survivors full of educational materials, scarves, head wraps and small gifts.

– Last month, thanks to YOUR efforts, the PBCC and an anonymous donor awarded a $100,000 grant to Penn State Hershey breast cancer researcher Dr. Craig Meyers to continue his work to help find a cure for breast cancer now… so our daughters won’t have to.

– With your help, we are able to advocate for the women of Pennsylvania on legislation like the Breast Density Notification Act which was recently signed into law.

– Our incredible Grassroots Partners allow us to offer scholarships to breast cancer survivors who wish to attend our annual PBCC Conference in Harrisburg.

– Your fundraising efforts also help us to provide Patient Advocacy to women at a time when they need it most.

From the women battling breast cancer in our state, their families and the entire staff at the PA Breast Cancer Coalition, thank you. We hope you will continue this fight with us to find a cure for breast cancer now… so our daughters won’t have to.

Click on the video below to see photos from this year’s Grassroots Partners.

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Want to hold a fundraiser in your community?  Contact Kristen@PABreastCancer.org and become a PBCC Grassroots Partner today!

How Long Should Women Receive Radiation Treatment?

Posted By on December 15th, 2014 at 9:42 am | 176 comments.

A recent article in The Journal of the American Medical Association studied the use of radiation after a lumpectomy. This study was conducted by researchers Ezekial J. Emanuel and Justin E. Bekelman of the University of Pennsylvania and other colleagues. The group set out to examine a study done in 2011 which recommends shorter, more intense radiation treatments for women who were older than 50 that had early-stage cancers. What did they find?

Radiation-for-PL-2This recent study looked at two different groups of women: those who doctors recommended to receive shorter treatment (3-4 weeks of radiation) and a group of women who were younger and either had chemotherapy or more advanced cancer (5-7 weeks of radiation).
Both courses of treatment were found to have the same effectiveness, but the shorter version saved time for patients and saved money for the health care system and insurers.  Doctors did not readily adopt the new recommendations because it went against years of practice in the field.  In the 1970s and 1980s, the equipment was much less sophisticated and a shorter, more intense therapy burned women’s skin and scarred their breasts, but with the improved equipment and methodology of today, studies have found that the cosmetic results of the shorter therapy were just as good.

Overall, the study found that the use of the shorter therapy had increased from 2008 to 2013.
To read the complete article, click here.