Find Out About the Some Dedicated Women Working to Beat Breast Cancer
Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Treatment Center is known for its efforts to beat breast cancer.
They are at the forefront of treatment advances that have helped to reduce breast cancer rates – in large part because of groups like Cancer Link, an all-volunteer group that has raised over $3 million to promote breast cancer research at Sylvester and has made major contributions in promoting breast cancer awareness and early detection. Discover more.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer after skin cancer among women in the US – 30% of newly diagnosed cancers will be breast cancer. Next to lung cancer, breast cancer death rates are the highest. And here are a few more unsettling facts:
- Roughly 1 in 8 women in the US (or about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in her life.
- It is estimated that, in 2019, 268,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in this country, as well 62,930 as new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
- In addition, around “2,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2019.” (From BreastCancer.org)
As dire as all that sounds, there is some good news. After increasing for two decades, US breast cancer rates began to decline in 2000, dropping by a full 7% in just one year from 2002 to 2003. In addition, although “41,760 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2019 from breast cancer, . . . death rates have been decreasing since 1989. . . . These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness” (BreastCancer.org).
Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Treatment Center is at the forefront of those treatment advances. And they are able to provide this critical treatment in large part because of groups like Cancer Link – an all-volunteer group that has raised over $3 million to promote breast cancer research at Sylvester and has made major contributions in promoting breast cancer awareness and early detection.
Award-Winning Cancer Treatment and Research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to Beat Breast Cancer
Sylvester is a university-based cancer center bringing hope to cancer victims, including breast cancer victims, through cutting edge, research-based treatment. Their efforts to beat breast cancer go far and wide, for example…
In order to beat breast cancer, centers need research.
At Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System, “physicians and scientists apply research breakthroughs from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside.
Sylvester closely evaluates the effectiveness of new treatments and shares clinical insights with laboratory investigators, leading to improvements that benefit patient care.” This is a reciprocal kind of research-and-treatment process known as “translational research.”
“This type of translational research is the cornerstone of our comprehensive cancer center, providing us the ability to accurately treat a wide range of cancers across 15 site diseases and from stage one to stage four. Sylvester patients also have the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking clinical trials that offer new treatment approaches and help the scientific community answer questions about new ways of using existing drugs to fight cancer.”
New Satellite Facility
Recently, a sixth satellite facility was opened “as a core component of of the Lennar Foundation Medical Center on UM’s Coral Gables campus. Sylvester physicians provide a wide range of patient services at the new ﬁve-story, 206,000-square-foot diagnostic and treatment center. The ground ﬂoor houses diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology services, including an advanced linear accelerator and a CT simulator. The center’s second ﬂoor is dedicated to ambulatory surgery care for a wide range of conditions, including cancer, featuring six general operating rooms, two rooms for special procedures and three GI/ endoscopy suites.”
In addition to the broad range of multidisciplinary cancer care that includes “cancer clinical trials, medical oncology, radiation oncology, imaging, and support services,” this “facility also offers the latest minimally invasive procedures in state-of-the-art surgical suites, leading to faster recovery, lower infection rates, and less post-procedure discomfort.” And the Lennar facility was designed to promote patient healing and general well being. This is accomplished by architectural features such as floor-to-ceiling windows and a fifth-story outdoor terrace overlooking Coral Gables to achieve a light-infused environment conducive to healing.
This is just one Sylvester facility, but it should give you a good idea of what they do and how they do it.
National Cancer Institute Designation
When a cancer-treatment center earns the National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation, you know they’re doing a lot of things right. Just a few months ago, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, was awarded the prestigious NCI designation from the National Cancer Institute.
What this means – this NCI designation – is that Sylvester has been recognized as one of the top US cancer centers and is now among a very select group. For there are only two such NCI-designated cancer centers in Florida and only 71 nationwide.
The selection criteria for this designation included outstanding and applied research, top-notch patient treatment in clinics and hospitals, and outreach to medically underserved communities with innovative prevention strategies. With this excellence on the three fronts of research, clinical care, and community outreach, Sylvester provides south Florida (and beyond) patients with the most advanced treatment and care possible. And now the center has been nationally recognized for this excellence.
But the achieved excellence and the NCI-designation have not been earned on the medical front alone. Fundraising groups like Cancer Link also played a major role in Sylvester’s earning the NCI designation. Centers like Sylvester must have support, particularly financial support, to accomplish what they do. And Cancer Link provides that crucial support.
Cancer Link – Passion and Commitment Supporting Breast Cancer Research, Treatment, and Early Detection
So, what is Cancer Link?
It is an “a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to finding an ultimate cure for breast cancer through research, spreading breast cancer awareness through education, improving the quality of treatment for those suffering from the disease, and growing and fostering the community outreach at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute at Sylvester has significantly benefited from the continuous support of Cancer Link which has sponsored key research studies and further advancements to breast cancer bedside treatment. Cancer Link has raised more than $3 million to support breast cancer research at Sylvester through sponsorship, major annual luncheons, and several events throughout the year with its various community partners.”
(Check out this video on their Facebook page.)
Really, though, Cancer Link is more about passion and commitment and transparency. And it all started just a little over 30 years ago . . .
This all-volunteer organization was founded those many years ago by Marlene Berg. She is now 81 years old and remains, according to past president and committee member Mary Rosenberg, “the light and driving force of Cancer Link.”
Cancer Link began as an effort to help a friend suffering from breast cancer. Marlene and nine of her friends got together and hosted a luncheon to raise funds to help their friend and to help the cause. At that first fundraising luncheon, they raised a couple of thousand dollars and donated it to research. After that initial big push, though, it sort of fizzled. But Marlene and friends were soon called back because money was so desperately needed in the fight against breast cancer.
As of today, Cancer Link has raised over $3 million to fund research, promote early detection, raise awareness, and move toward a cure. And almost every bit of the money they raise goes to the breast cancer cause. It is, as we mentioned, an all-volunteer organization, so there are no salaries to pay out of money collected. Members also work out of one another’s homes, so expenses are kept to the barest minimum.
What’s also impressive about Cancer Link is the long-term commitment and profound involvement of members. There is, of course, Marlene, who has been at it for 30+ years. And 10 of the past presidents are still active, this year helping with the annual luncheon. Also, membership comprises breast cancer survivors, those currently battling cancer, and some who have never had it.
Mary Rosenberg, for example, was asked to attend a Cancer Link meeting a few years ago. She did and was hooked. Now, she is a past president (two-year term) and an active committee member, as well as a driving force behind the annual luncheon. Mary said she likes the opportunity it affords her to work with people and that she is “now totally involved.”
So that brings us to this year’s big fundraiser – the “Country Pink” luncheon in October.
The Luncheon – The Main Fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research
While Cancer Link has other fundraising events and efforts—such as partnering with Temple Beth Am for a sponsored walk and with the women’s golf club at Deering Bay Bolf & Country club for a golf tournament—the annual luncheon is the big blowout and main fundraiser. How big is it? Well, in past years, they averaged 730 luncheon attendees. Although that number has fallen off some in recent years owing to hurricane destruction of the venue, numbers are picking back up.
And this year’s October luncheon, with a “Country Pink” theme, is expected to be a resounding success.
“The non-profit Cancer Link will be holding its annual fundraising luncheon, Country Pink, on October 15, 2019, at the Hilton Miami Downtown. The event includes a silent auction, a performance by the Shane Duncan Band, fashions by Zambony Couture, and a gift bag. The event starts at 10:00 am. Approximately 600 attendees are expected” (Miami’s Community Newspapers).
There’s more though . . .
Cancer Link members, Mary assured us, strive to make this event a “happy, celebration luncheon.” To that end and in keeping with the country part of the “Country Pink” theme, the band will be a country band, and there will be cowboy hats for attendees to wear. And for the pink part – the emblematic breast cancer-awareness color – there will be pink bandanas as part of the napkin/table setting.
Keep in mind, too, that while attendees pay for part of the meal, everything else is donated. And this means that nearly all the proceeds go to the breast cancer cause. So at the end of the year, Cancer Link picks the doctors and researchers to donate to. The money raised by Cancer Link often serves as seed money for researchers to get started on special projects.
Don’t think it’s going to be exciting? Just take a look at this year’s invitation letter . . .
Cancer Link is delighted to announce that our annual luncheon will be held on Tuesday, October 15th at the Miami Hilton Downtown. All funds raised from this event will benefit the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and will help provide research for the millions of people affected by breast cancer.
We’re so excited about the luncheon and would love for you to get involved and support this cause. Last year’s luncheon raised over $200,000 for UM/Sylvester breast cancer research. We are looking for auction and raffle donations for this event. As a donor, you will receive the University of Miami in-kind credit and acknowledgment in the event program. The enclosed sheet provides additional information on how to make your donation.
We are expecting over 500 people to attend this luncheon enjoying a magnificent show, silent auction, amazing raffle, and more; this is truly an inspirational afternoon not to miss! If you have any questions or need further information, please call Susan Kaufman at (305) 528-2310 our Auction Committee Chair, or Stephanie Fojo at (305) 274-4772 from Eventures Special Event Productions. We hope you’ll help us with a donation to this exciting luncheon. Your support can provide hope to millions of people!
Pink Breast Cancer Bandanas from Wholesale For Everyone
Now, about those 700 pink bandanas . . .
We asked Mary where she got all those pink bandanas. Her ready response was, “Wholesale For Everyone!”.
She found Wholesale For Everyone online and choose them as the exclusive bandana supplier for Cancer link because of the great prices and because they had the color she needed. When the bandanas arrived, she was impressed by the neat packing. Mary was, she said, “ecstatic.”
Mary was pleased with the “fantastic product and quick delivery.” What sold her, though, was the fact that Wholesale For Everyone was so easy to work with. Mary spoke to Dan, the owner, on the phone, and she said that “he was a sweetheart.”
Get Involved and Help Beat Breast Cancer
What it all boils down to is that Cancer Link volunteers are helping to find a cure for breast cancer. And you can help them do just that. Donations are always welcome, or you can take advantage of the sponsorship opportunities. Or if you’re in the area and would like to attend a fun luncheon, buy a ticket and go.