On the evening of October 2, the unique partnership between the Prevent Cancer Foundation and the National Museum of Women in the Arts provided an unparalleled opportunity to hear a distinguished panel break down the barriers of education and communication on preventing breast cancer and improving women’s health.
The Museum’s mission is to bring recognition to the achievements of women artists by exhibiting, preserving, acquiring, researching and teaching the public about this art. It is an elegant venue in midtown Washington, D.C. complete with marble floors and impressive chandeliers.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation advocates and supports the prevention and early detection of cancer through research, education, and advocacy and community outreach. It has provided more than $130 million in support of these initiatives since 1985 and is the only national, nonprofit health foundation solely focused prevention.
According to Jan Bresch, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the foundation, “When we approached the Museum to partner on an October event, in honor of breast cancer awareness month, we knew we wanted content, not only a party. It was a perfect pairing since the Museum is focused on education as are we.”
Susan Sterling, director of the museum, concurred. ”We were delighted that the Foundation sought to bring this excellent program to our museum.”
Immediately following an elegant and cozy reception complete with passed hors d’oeuvres, Athena Water and wine, attendees left the beautiful second floor reception area of the National Women in the Arts Museum for the auditorium where gracious WUSA Channel 9 anchor Andrea Roane served as moderator for the panel.
Three accomplished panelists, two doctors and a highly successful entrepreneur, shared their personal breast cancer stories and their subsequent triumphs as well their well-researched enthusiasm for good nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits.
The panelists were Dr. Ann Kulze, physician, best-selling author and motivational speaker, Dr. Carolyn Runowicz, executive associate dean of academic affairs and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Florida Atlantic University Herbert College of Medicine and breast cancer survivor; and Trish May, founder of Athena Waters, entrepreneur and breast cancer survivor.
“We are here tonight to talk about our health and how we can protect it, but also because we, as women, are in the role of reminding and encouraging our family members to take care of their health,” began Andrea Roane.
“Regular mammograms after age 50 are crucial, they save lives,” asserted Dr. Runowicz. She recounted her experiences with the media in her attempt to explain her belief in mammography even in the face of false positive results that can cause women unnecessary anxiety and fear. “My patients can live with a little anxiety, but they cannot live with a little cancer.”
Dr. Kulze focused on research that supported the crucial preventive partners, good diet and exercise. “Sitting for too many hours can be deadly,” she flatly asserted. “Seventy percent of all cancers can be prevented due to lifestyle changes. Keeping your weight steady is important, even within your BMI range. Weight stability is the most powerful thing you can do, aside from quitting smoking, to avoid cancer.”
Trish May described her feelings of helplessness and then determination when she received her breast cancer diagnosis at age 38. She decided to devote herself to raising money to assist with the search for a cure. “I asked myself, what do I want to do with the rest of my life. I believed, and still do, that everyone, every individual, can make a difference.”
Her creation, Athena Water, named for the Greek goddess of purity, wisdom and strength, has contributed more than $2 million a year to breast cancer research.
The evening ended with invitation to all attendees to view the temporary exhibit, “Women Who Rock.” Viewing this collection on loan from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including photos, costumes, guitars and first drafts of famous lyrics from artists ranging from Tina Turner, Carole King, Madonna, Joan Jett and more, was the perfect empowering note to end the evening.