Pink Ribbon Salute to Breast Cancer Survivors
On Wednesday, October 5, 2016, more than 100 breast cancer survivors attended The Pink Ribbon Salute, hosted by St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center.
The fact is that 1 and 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and, approximately 2,000 men will be diagnosed with this year alone. Another fact is that “early and routine screening is the most effective way to decrease deaths associated with breast cancer,” stated St. Catherine’s Director of Radiology Anne Green, MD, as she provided updates at the breast cancer awareness event.
The pink-illuminated room was filled with hope and the sounds of symphony by the talented Commack High School Chamber of Orchestra. Commack Orchestra Teacher Karen Dow, a patient of St. Catherine’s Breast Health Program Director June Lee, MD, and, St. Catherine’s Administrative Director of Reconstructive Microsurgery Diana Yoon-Schwartz, MD, took the opportunity to share her journey with other survivors, caregivers, family, friends, and staff of the medical center.
Ms. Dow eloquently described how one summer changed her life—and then took to her pink violin, gifted to her from her students upon her return to school—and played “I Will Survive”, conducted by her student Paul Mokotoff. The performance was moving, reminding everyone present that support comes in all forms and is powerfully uplifting to the spirit.
St. Catherine’s Executive Vice President/CAO Paul J. Rowland, Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jane Finnegan, Director of Pastoral Care Elizabeth Meehan, were in attendance to show their support. Ms. Finnegan welcomed all the guests and reminded them that “We, the staff at St. Catherine of Siena is right here for you—this evening is a celebration for you—the ever courageous.”
The event hosted by St. Catherine of Siena, originated as a celebratory dinner for survivors five years ago and has evolved into a hybrid event where survivors are invited as guests of the Medical Center—and in addition where the hospital can raise funds for breast health services. The metamorphosis of the event has been so well received by former guests, some even commented that they are so pleased to purchase a raffle ticket and/or additional tickets for friends and family because it is there way of giving back.
The event was made possible with support from New Street Plastic Surgery, Suffolk Anesthesia Associates, Genentech, Genomech and Laura Woodfield, raising $8,759.00 for breast health services at the Medical Center.
Additionally, many raffle prizes were made possible by the following sponsors: Amazing Lash Studio, Anthony's Coal Fire Pizza, Bayshore Bean Co., Brighton Jewelry, Ciao Baby, Commack High School, Diana Yoon-Schwartz, MD, Grace Cooney, In the Mood DJ Productions, June Lee, MD, LaVida Massage – Smithtown, Macy's, MAIA Salon of Smithtown, Maureen's Kitchen ,Millers Ale House, Mulberry Street, Platinum Fitness, Patrick M. O'Shaughnessy, DO, Patty Aluskewicz of Evolve, Positive Promotion, Positive Promotions, Queen Bee Nails, Revlon Corp., Symmetry Salon, The Outback at Commack, The Secret Garden of Port Jefferson, The Soapbox of Port Jeff, Vera Bradley at Smithaven Mall, Vera Bradley at Walt Whitman Mall and Willy Nilly's at Bayshore.
Every survivor was greeted by staff of St. Catherine of Siena, and given a pink rose, along with a swag bag filled with inspirational goodies in support of breast cancer awareness. And, for a special splash of pink, Grace Cooney was present to provide guests with pink hair strands to further encourage breast cancer awareness throughout the month of October.
After a special patient testimonial by Letitia Grass, a “Pink Ribbon Salute” was held. St. Catherine’s Breast Health Navigator Meiling Alsen, RN, MSN/ED, ONC, CBCN, and moderator of the event asked all the survivors to stand and hold a pink glow stick, followed by caregivers, and then she asked if anyone knew someone affected by breast cancer—to no surprise the entire room was lit with guests standing in unison, while the Commack High School Chamber Orchestra played “This is My Fight Song”. “It was a special moment and I was so thrilled that a simple idea could have such a powerful impact,” stated Ms. Dow.
St. Catherine of Siena is a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, as designated by the American College of Radiology. St. Catherine of Siena's Breast Center provides innovative, comprehensive care for women of all ages and backgrounds in a welcoming and supportive environment. The Breast Health Services combines cutting-edge technology with personalized interest to offer a broad range of clinical and support services from screening and diagnosis to treatment and counseling. The multidisciplinary team consists of physicians, surgical specialists, nurses, specialized technologists, radiologists, a breast health nurse navigator, and is dedicated to caring for the physical and psychosocial needs of all patients.
Photo #1: Front Row (L-R): St. Catherine’s Executive Vice President Paul J. Rowland, Breast Health Navigator Meiling Alsen, St. Catherine’s Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jane Finnegan, St. Catherine’s Director of Radiology Anne Green, MD, St. Catherine’s Administrative Director of Reconstructive Microsurgery Diana Yoon-Schwartz, MD, Commack Orchestra Teacher Karen Dow, St. Catherine’s Breast Health Director June Lee, MD, Commack High School Principal Leslie Boritz and Student Conductor Paul Mokotoff with Commack High School Chamber Orchestra
Photo #2: Commack Orchestra Teacher Karen Dow and St. Catherine’s Breast Health Program Director June Lee, MD
For more information about St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, call (631) 870-3444.