Funds Raised at Breakfast for Georgetown Breast Care Center
October 14, 2011 – Attendees at the fifth annual Gift of Life Breakfast yesterday to benefit Georgetown’s Capital Breast Care Center (CBCC) raised more than $120,000 for the center’s programs and services.
More than 400 people attended the breakfast, which took place at the Grand Hyatt Washington in the District.
Washington, D.C., has one of the highest breast cancer rates in the nation and holds the highest death rate from breast cancer.
CBCC, a community initiative of Georgetown’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, provides screening and other services to the medically underserved in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), a breast cancer survivor who spoke at the breakfast, was instrumental in the passage in 2010 of the EARLY Act.
The act directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and implement a national education campaign about the threat breast cancer poses to young women of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
“We cannot afford to be silent about these specific risks and how they impact certain communities,” the congresswoman notes on her EARLY Act website, “not when our children's lives are on the line.”
“Forty percent of breast cancer occurs in premenopausal women under the age of 55,” said keynote speaker Felicia Knaul, associate professor at Harvard Medical School who serves on the school's Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries .
Knaul both fought breast cancer herself and saw firsthand the hardship that comes with the diagnosis of breast cancer among the underprivileged while being treated for the disease in Mexico.
She now advocates for early detection of the disease and educates young Latin American women through her foundation, Cáncer de Mama: Tómatelo a Pecho.
The event also brought together former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s wife, Michelle Cross Fenty, CBCC advisory council president; Maria Harris Tildon, senior vice president, public policy and community affairs, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield; and Joyce Williams, vice president, human resources and administration for the real estate firm Vornado/Charles E. Smith.
The breakfast also recognized the Avon Foundation for Women, which in 2004 helped open the doors of CBCC with a $1.5 million grant.
The center has since screened more than 9,000 patients, an average of 2,000 patients a year, and of those patients 95 percent are breast cancer survivors.
“We are extremely grateful for our partnership with Avon Foundation for Women,” said Dr. Louis Weiner, Lombardi’s director.
“Our patients are not forgotten, they receive the best care, the best education, and get the attention they deserve,” said Beth Beck, CBCC’s executive director.
CBCC patient Tamara Holiday and breast cancer survivor Jennifer Harlow shared stories at the breakfast, as did Claudia Gilmore, who made the decision to obtain a preventative bilateral mastectomy at the age of 23. These stories are captured on CBCC’s new video.