BCA_Spring Outlook '21

Page 1

outlook SPRING 2021 — VOLUME 27


OUR MISSION The mission of Breast Cancer Alliance is to improve survival rates and quality of life for those impacted by breast cancer through better prevention, early detection, treatment and cure. To promote these goals, we invest in innovative research, breast surgery fellowships, regional education, dignified support and screening for the underserved.

IN THIS ISSUE 2 • Message from Meg Russell, BCA President (continued) • Family Game Night

3 • Message from Yonni Wattenmaker, BCA Executive Director

4 • BCA’s 25th Anniversary Luncheon

5 • Meet BCA’s New Board Members

6 • Wellness Month &

• Get Fit for Hope

8 • Research Spotlights

• 2021 Grants

10 • One Man’s Story 12 • Just BeCAuse

• Pain Management Medical Symposium

As I write this letter on a brutally cold February morning, I can’t help but look ahead to the day this newsletter will arrive in your mailbox. I’m picturing a sunny, warm April morning with the crocuses and daffodils making their first appearances. For many reasons, I’m feeling hopeful about the months that lay ahead. The spring season signifies renewal and, after a challenging 2020, the spirit at BCA certainly mirrors that sense of renewal. Additionally, we are marking the 25th anniversary of our founding and there is much to celebrate. We are beginning our fiscal year now with three new Board Members, each of whom bring their own unique set of talents to BCA. Amy Dates Carbone, Sandra Caruso and Stephanie Latham have all been engaged with BCA over the years and we are thrilled to welcome them formally onto our Board of Directors. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge three valuable longtime Board Members whose terms have ended. Lisa Fischer, Ellen Schapps Richman and Loren Taufield have all served BCA tirelessly for many years and their voices will be sorely missed. However, their hard work and commitment have left BCA in a better place than when they joined and we are not only eternally grateful for their passionate dedication, but look forward to their continued involvement in the years ahead. At the close of each fiscal year, we determine how many Education and Outreach Grants, Research Grants and Breast Surgery Fellowships we will be able to fund, based on the previous year’s net income. In 2020, we were proud to have granted a record amount, nearly

$2 million. When COVID-19 exploded in March of last year, we were able to adjust our projected revenue for this year, being more conservative and realistic given the constantly-changing restrictions on events and social gatherings and challenges for philanthropy in an unknown fiscal climate. We reimagined longstanding events and added new ones which entertained and informed our loyal supporters without asking them to leave their homes. In doing so, we raised more than we projected and are thrilled to be able to support 24 impactful grants about which you can read on page 10. However, we are still a long way The grants BCA from where we make are crucial imagined we would be at this components in the time, our 25th race to eradicate anniversary.

breast cancer.

BCA is not alone in having to recalibrate at this time. The impact that COVID has had on fundraising is widespread and enduring, yet the need is greater than ever. While that sounds like a cliché, it couldn’t be more accurate. The grants BCA make are crucial components in the race to eradicate breast cancer. The fellowships we support mean that there will be more surgeons available who are trained specifically in the most cutting-edge, life-saving techniques in far-reaching U.S. neighborhoods where specialized breast surgeons or breast centers may never have existed before. The research grants we fund mean that novel approaches will have an opportunity to see the light of day, leading to breakthroughs in early detection and treatment. Continued on page 2

Spring 2021 1

MESSAGE FROM MEG RUSSELL, BCA PRESIDENT (CONTINUED) Yonni Wattenmaker, Executive Director BOARD OF DIRECTORS Meg Russell, President Michelle Abadir-Hallock, MD Kim Augustine Amy Dates Carbone Sandra Caruso Jill Coyle Sue Delepine Xandy Duffy Donna Hagberg, MD Mary K. Jeffery Lois Kelly Nina Lindia Stephanie Latham Karen Lowney Andrew Mitchell-Namdar Justin Nelson Courtney Olsen Jordan Rhodes Mary Jo Riddle Barbara Rodkin Nancy Rosen Trish Shannon Susan Weis Jane Gershon Weitzman Elisa Wilson Diane Zarrilli Molly Zola Sharon Phillips, Trustee Emeritus MEDICAL ADVISORY BOARD K.M. Steve Lo, MD, Chair Eva Andersson-Dubin, MD Susan K. Boolbol, MD Patrick I. Borgen, MD Rachel Brem, MD Andrew J. Dannenberg, MD Alison Estabrook, MD Alexandra Heerdt, MD Brigid Killelea, MD Gregory S. LaTrenta, MD Linda LaTrenta, MD Donna-Marie Manasseh, MD Monica Morrow, MD Elisa Port, MD David L. Rimm, MD, PhD Andrea Silber, MD Barbara A. Ward, MD Richard Zelkowitz, MD ADVISORY COUNCIL Jane Batkin Susan Bevan Frannie Burns Kathy Clark Frank Corvino Carol Crapple Nat Day Patti Fast Michele Haertel Kathy T. Hanson Susan and Brett Holey David Jones James McArdle Kenneth E. Mifflin Scott Mitchell Donna Moffly Betsy Donovan Nolan Maureen Perry Carol Santora Margaret Sinclair William C. Sinclair Nancy and Turner Smith Peter J. Tesei Marylou Williams Ramze Zakka FOUNDERS Lucy Day (1944-2020) Susan Elia (1944-2017) Kenny King Howe Valerie Marchese Cecile McCaull Mary Waterman (1944-1997)


Lastly, the Education and Outreach grants we make mean that more underserved women and men will be able to access the treatment they so desperately need. Due to COVID-imposed delays, breast cancer diagnoses The research grants are expected to we fund mean that escalate, and at later stages. We novel approaches will must fight harder have an opportunity than ever before to repair that to see the light damage, and of day... we need your help as we do. We are grateful that you have been with us on our journey, whether you have supported us since our inception or were introduced to us more recently through friends or your community. Maybe you discovered BCA on Charity Navigator and were impressed that we have received

their highest rating or found yourself engaging with our informative and compassionate stories on social media. Regardless, your connection to our mission is greatly appreciated. We are working hard to bring you important content during this milestone year ahead and value your continued support and engagement. I would be remiss if I did not thank our wonderful Executive Director, Yonni Wattenmaker, who, day in and day out, brings her tireless and creative talents to her work. Our Board of Directors, Advisory Council and Medical Advisory Board are all essential components of our organization and we could not be providing the services we do without their continued commitment. Thank you for continuing with us as we look ahead to the impact BCA will make in its next 25 years.

FAMILY GAME NIGHT who wanted to join in the virtual fun. Actress Ashley Aufdereide, a Greenwich native best known for her role in Emergence, called the game, hosted by Breast Cancer Alliance Executive Director, Yonni Wattenmaker. The fun-filled boxes are still for sale! They are the perfect kit for families to enjoy on any evening and make a wonderful gift as well! To purchase one visit: https:// breastcanceralliance.org/events Families from across the U.S. had a blast at February 19th’s zoom bingo game for Breast Cancer Alliance’s Family Game Night. A box of games, crafts and snacks including items like dominoes, cards, coloring pages, sidewalk chalk, a bingo set (and some adult beverages too) specifically curated for BCA were shipped in advance of the event to those



devastating. It has also impacted our funding and yet the need for BCA to fund grants that come our way have never been more critical.

This anniversary is While the pandemic has What a year we each endured in not an end 2020. Since the COVID-19 pandemic point, but an impacted lives in many began, Breast Cancer Alliance important different ways, the toll has spent the time reimagining its commemit has taken on effective fundraising events to best ensure oration. everyone’s health and safety while A stark prevention, access to still offering creative, meaningful, reminder of treatment, and recovery and engaging ways to raise the the legacy from breast cancer is essential funding we need to make to which we our annual grants. remain comdevastating. It has also This year is a mitted and a impacted our funding and BCA is continuing down that path milestone for call to action in 2021, with an increase in creBreast Cancer yet the need for BCA to to push ative programming and an acute Alliance as hard for a fund grants that come focus on engagement, wellness, we celebrate brighter, our way have never been and impact. The mission of Breast 25 years. As healthier fuCancer Alliance will never waver; you can see ture. During more critical. we remain committed to improving from our new these past survival rates and quality of life for logo, some 25 years, those impacted by breast cancer things have BCA has through better prevention, early changed but our core remains the been a trailblazer. The ideas that detection, treatment, and cure. To same. The three girls represent combegan among six women around promote these goals, we invest in munity, the glue, of this organization a table in a Greenwich home laid innovative research, breast surgery — how we all come together, grab the seeds for BCA to blossom and fellowships, regional education, hands, and move change forward. become one of the most promidignified support, and screening for The colors vary representing the nent breast cancer charities in the the underserved. To date, we have diversity of patients impacted by United States. Since Breast Cancer awarded approximately $30 million, this disease — young and elderly, all Alliance launched, breast cancer with over $13 million of those grants races, all religions, women, and men. survivor rates have gone from 75% designated for innovative, life-saving The lettering is contemporary and to 90%. We, you, have played a research. While the pandemic has fresh, as are our ideas and the way significant role but that is still not impacted lives in many different we function. We are an alliance, a enough... ways, the toll it has taken on effecstronghold, coming together, strontive prevention, access to treatment, ger together, to fight against this By 2030, we want to approach and recovery from breast cancer is disease together. 100% breast cancer survival rate. Let’s use this decade to close the gap. Please go online, or use the envelope enclosed, and make your first gift to honor BCA’s 25th from our new logo, some things have year today.

As you can see changed but our core remains the same.

#100%WithinReach Sincerely,

Innovative research • Surgical fellowships • Community outreach

Spring 2021 3






Amy Dates Carbone Amy is a 20+ year Greenwich resident. She spent fifteen years on Wall Street as a financial media relations and corporate communications executive, including serving as spokeswoman for Citigroup. After leaving the public relations arena, she became actively involved in Greenwich philanthropy, particularly on the fundraising side. She has served on the boards of the Greenwich United Way, Arch Street Teen Center, Project Blessing and the Junior League of Greenwich. In addition, she has volunteered considerable time to both the public and private schools attended by her children: The Stanwich School, Greenwich Academy and Greenwich High School. She is currently the Vice President of the Milbrook Owners Association and serves on the Case Western Reserve University Parent Leadership Council. As principal of a start-up venture capital investment fund, she is interested in providing seed capital to historically under-represented entrepreneurs. Amy is a long-time supporter of Breast Cancer Alliance, as both her mother and an older sister have battled the disease. It thrills her that her daughter is currently part of a research lab working on nanotechnology for breast cancer drug delivery.

Sandra Caruso Sandra has served as a BCA volunteer since 2016, when she walked at the Annual Luncheon as a survivor, and has served on the BCA Grants Research Committee and the Education and Outreach Committee since 2019.

She is passionate about the BCA mission to support new and emerging scientists, scientific discovery and research, which are critical in advancing the discovery of better screening and new treatments for this disease. Sandra was graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Political Science and received her J.D. from New York Law School. She was an associate with several NYC law firms, with a focus on medical and hospital practice litigation. Sandra and her husband, Michael, live in the Greenwich area with their three wonderful daughters. She has served, over many years, as a dedicated and active volunteer in her local and school communities. Sandra has chaired the Annual Benefit at her daughters’ school, Sacred Heart Greenwich, where she is a proud member the Board of Trustees and the current Chair of Institutional Advancement and Stewardship. In 2014, Sandra was diagnosed at age 44 with ER/PR-, Her2+ breast cancer, with no prior family history or risk factors. She was treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, where she underwent a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and a dual antibody blockade. She credits science, medical research, emerging new drugs and prayers for her current NED (no evidence of disease) status. Sandra looks forward to a day where there is a cure for breast cancer. Stephanie Latham Stephanie was a member of the Advisory Council of BCA and works at Facebook. She was born and raised in Wilton, Connecticut. She has her B.A. from the University of Virginia and MBA from New York University. She spent almost a decade in NYC and Greenwich before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area where she currently resides with her husband

and two children. Stephanie leads one of Facebook’s largest sales and marketing teams where she partners with technology companies on their advertising strategies. She has always been a champion of women in the workplace, a supporter of women entrepreneurs, small business owners and an advocate for more equitable parental leave policies. Stephanie was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 31 and pregnant with her daughter Caroline, now 5. Shortly after she concluded her treatment plan, her mom was also diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. She is thankful to report they are all survivors. Her experience serves as a constant reminder of the work we need to do to cure this disease and energizes her to partner closely with BCA to ensure all women get the screening they need and the funding for research to find a cure.


Mary Ferarra (L), Yonni Wattenmaker, Executive Director, Breast Cancer Alliance (M), Anne Chiapetta (R) In September 2020, PCI Creative Group offered an extra incentive to “Be Safe, Do Good,” by donating $1 for every mask sold to BCA in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. Thanks to Hitachi Capital America Corp., Albertus Magnus College and Board members of BCA, PCI was able to donate $1456 to this worthwhile organization. The mission of Breast Cancer Alliance is to improve survival rates and quality of life for those impacted by breast cancer through better prevention, early detection, treatment and cure. To promote these goals, the organization invests in innovative research, breast surgery fellowships, regional education, dignified support and screening for the underserved.

Spring 2021 5

RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: NORA DISIS UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, 2020 BCA EXCEPTIONAL PROJECT GRANT RECIPIENT We have recently completed a Phase I trial of a vaccine called STEMVAC in patients with advanced breast cancer. The vaccine was safe and immunogenic. While most people generated the correct type of immune response, about 20% did not and some patients developed only low-level responses. We wondered how we might help these patients boost their reaction to our vaccines. Could a solution reside in our gut microbiome?

When I first began my career more than 20 years ago, the research community was not convinced that breast cancer was immunogenic (responsive to immunotherapy). We have since learned that breast cancer is immunogenic and that we can train the immune system to recognize cancer with a cancer vaccine. At the University of Washington Cancer Vaccine Institute (CVI), we are dedicated to developing vaccines that prevent cancer recurrence — with the goal of creating vaccines that prevent cancer in the first place. In addition to developing cancer vaccines, we also work on other therapies that can boost the immune response.

Our group has recently found that some organisms in our gut work with the immune system cells to suppress our natural immune response to cancer. Breast Cancer Alliance is generously supporting a project to enroll additional breast cancer patients on our vaccine trial and measure the organisms in the gut prior to vaccine delivery to determine how those germs impact the immune response. These studies could lead to new methods, such as tailored probiotics, to help boost immunity and allow for more effective immunotherapy approaches. Many foundations keep a formal relationship with their grantees. They initiate a request for proposals,

scientists apply for funding, a grant is awarded and the PI will submit an impact report a year later. Breast Cancer Alliance, on the other hand, Breast Cancer Alliance recognizes the is generously suppower of connection, converporting a project to sation, and smart enroll additional breast women working cancer patients on together to advance research. our vaccine trial and Your site visit measure the organisms was a fun and in the gut prior to rewarding experience for me vaccine delivery to and other memdetermine how those bers of the UW Medicine Cancer germs impact the Vaccine Institute. immune response. We always find it important to listen to what is on the minds of patients. Through your funding and conversation, BCA has been instrumental in advancing the CVI’s work on the microbiome. I hope that the BCA members recognize what a remarkable impact you are having on the CVI and feel encouraged to keep asking questions!



Scott Abrams, PhD and Michael Nemeth, PhD Roswell Park Unique combination immunotherapy to confront triple negative breast cancer

Gloria Echeverria, PhD Baylor College of Medicine Characterizing and targeting mitochondrial metabolism in chemoresistant triple negative breast cancer

Rumela Chakrabarti, PhD University of Pennsylvania A novel combination immunotherapy to improve treatment of metastatic triple negative breast cancer, Deborah G. Black Memorial Research Grant

Jennifer Rosenbluth, MD, PhD Dana Farber Cancer Institute Modeling cancer prevention in mammary organoids derived from BRCA1/2 mutation carriers

Jianua Yu, PhD City of Hope An oncolytic virus engineered to express a full-length anti-CD47 IgG1 antibody for the treatment of breast cancer brain metastasis, Supported by Jane and Stuart Weitzman in memory of Irma Wallin



Maria Soledad Sosa, PhD Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Targeting disseminated breast cancer cells to prevent metastasis, Deborah G. Black Memorial Research Grant

RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: DR. JASON SHELTZER, COLD SPRING HARBOR LABORATORY, 2017 BCA YOUNG INVESTIGATOR GRANT RECIPIENT breast cancers become aneuploid and how aneuploidy effects tumor behavior.

I’m a cancer biologist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. My lab is focused on understanding the genetic changes that occur during tumor development. We are particularly interested in investigating the consequences of “aneuploidy,” or changes in chromosome copy number. In the human genome, genes are encoded on long stretches of DNA that are called chromosomes. Most cells in a normal individual’s body have 46 chromosomes. For reasons that are very poorly understood, cancers tend to exhibit aneuploidy, and they lose or gain entire chromosomes. In my lab, we are working to understand why

Breast Cancer Alliance played a crucial role supporting my lab’s work at the beginning of my research career. I was extremely fortunate to be awarded a Young Investigator Research Grant by the BCA in 2017. This grant supported our analysis of aneuploidy in breast cancer, and it led to the publication of several studies examining how aneuploidy affects breast cancer prognosis. I am very thankful for Breast Cancer Alliance’s support at this crucial time in my career, and for their willingness to invest in an understudied research area. While it is very common to study mutations in individual genes in breast cancer, like the estrogen receptor or the progesterone receptor, much less is known about whole-chromosome copy number changes. I hope that our work in this field will break new ground on an understudied but extremely common aspect of tumor development.

new potential therapies for breast cancer. We have identified a novel drug target that seems to play a crucial role in the growth of triplenegative breast cancers, which is a very aggressive breast cancer subtype. Unfortunately, 2021 isn’t the best time to raise money for a cancer drug discovery company — our drugs have no effect on coronavirus infections (we checked!). We’re starting small, and we plan to expand our work as we continue to make scientific progress. If you’re interested in learnI am very thankful ing more about for Breast Cancer our company and what we hope Alliance’s support to accomplish, I at this crucial would be happy time in my career, to share.

and for their willingness to invest in an understudied research area.

Recently, we have founded a company based on discoveries made by my lab in order to develop



Billie Borden, MD Yale University Supported by the Mitchell Family

Danbury Hospital/ New Milford Hospital, Danbury & New Milford, CT Paula L. Banwell Memorial Grant

Kelly Krupa, MD Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Rodkin Family Fellow Marissa Srour, MD Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Gilda’s Club Westchester, White Plains, NY Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich, CT Griffin Hospital, Derby, CT Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT

Hospital of Central Connecticut, New Britain, CT

Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, CT

Mary’s Place, Washington, DC

Open Door Family Medical Center, Port Chester, NY

MedStar Georgetown, Washington, DC

Stamford Hospital, Stamford, CT

Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center, Middletown, CT

White Plains Hospital, White Plains, NY

Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Center/ Bridgeport Hospital, Bridgeport, CT

Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT

Spring 2021 7

BREAST CANCER ALLIANCE PRESENTS WELLNESS MONTH: A SERIES OF FITNESS AND HEALTH EVENTS As has been the nature of things since COVID began, Breast Cancer Alliance has been redesigning its fundraising events to best ensure everyone’s health and safety while still offering creative, meaningful, and engaging ways to raise the essential funding we need to grant our annual grants. BCA is continuing on that path in 2021 with an increased focus on overall wellness. The pandemic has impacted each of us in different ways, but whether it is diet, exercise, or mental health, all these elements lead back to breast cancer prevention, recovery, and survivorship. To that end, last year’s Get Fit for Hope Challenge, the virtual replacement for our Run/Walk for Hope, is back this year and expanding into BCA Wellness Month: A Series of Fitness and Health Events. Events will be held across the U.S. both virtually and in COVID-safe spaces where possible. This month of events directed at various aspects of improving wellness is a perfect blend of fundraising for an excellent cause while engaging in important lifestyle activities. Each year hundreds of participants, from grandparents to children, individuals to teams, come together to support this effort. This new format will only serve to enhance both participation and impact. You can participate in many ways: • $25 A one-day pass for students, ages 7 and up, on the date of your choice • $50 A one-day pass for adults on the date of your choice • $250 Purchase a month-long pass and enjoy any, and all, of the classes and programs being offered • $250 Purchase a month-long pass to gift to a loved one **All class times are listed in EST



Here are some teasers for what to expect — please keep checking breastcanceralliance.org/events for information. Meet BCA’s Wellness Month Ambassador Katie Wee! Katie is an Actress, Yogi and BRCA2 previvor. She is from the Bay Area of San Francisco and is a UCLA graduate. She is passionate about helping women feel less alone in their experiences dealing with breast cancer-related issues and hopes to use her experience and voice to help normalize the conversation around breast cancer, genetic mutations and women’s health. Katie will be teaching a class for us at the end of the month! Meet BCA’s Teen Wellness Month Ambassador Ashley Aufderheide! Ashley Aufderheide is an actress and Greenwich native, best known for her role as “Mia” on ABC’s Emergence. The young actor’s breakthrough role was as a lead in the indie rom-com Infinitely Polar Bear with Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana and she was a Sundance breakout, earning critical acclaim for her role.

Saturday, May 1: 10:30am-11:15am Kick-Off Party: FORWARD__Space Dance Break Brunch and Beats Edition!

Sunday, May 2: • 8:30am Pilates with Core Burn Pilates Greenwich • 9:30am Barre with Greenwich Barre • 11am Yoga with Stacy Bergman

Stacy Bergman

Friday, May 7: • 9am Anti-Aging Skincare and Remedies to Damage from Cancer Treatment with Dr. Diane Madfes • 10am Getting Dr. Madfes your Best Night’s Sleep with Tara Clancy • 12pm Treating the Symptoms of Menopause without Hormones with Dr. Donna Hagberg

Dr. Hagberg

Once you register, you can start your own team and raise funds from friends and family as they cheer you on or commit to participating with you! If none of the classes we are offering speak to you, get out and run, spin or kick a soccer ball around with your kids. You can do whatever works for you — there is something in the month for everyone. We can’t wait to “see” you there.

Meredith Geller

May 8:

Thursday, May 13:

• 9am Learning about Supplements with David Restrepo, Rph, Integrative Pharmacist, Vitahealth Apothecary

12pm The Importance of Genetic Screening: Presented in Partnership with JScreen

• 10am Healthy Cooking with Meredith Geller and Mike Geller of Mike’s Organic: Learn about sourcing ingredients, why seasonal meals matter, and how to make two delicious plant-based recipes.

Ali Rogin is a producer with the PBS NewsHour foreign affairs team. She previously covered Capitol Hill and the State Department for ABC News and was a political producer/ reporter for NBC News before that. During her senior year at New York University, she discovered she had the BRCA1 genetic mutation and decided to have prophylactic surgery before her graduation in 2009. A New Jersey native, Rogin lives with her husband in Washington, D.C.

Mike Geller is founder of Mike’s Organic, CT’s premier farm-to-home delivery service and market.

Mike Geller

Chandler Boyd

Meredith Geller, HHC, AADP, is an expander, a holistic nutrition consultant on a mission to break down the walls that constrict our view of nourishment. 5pm Healthy Cooking with Chandler Boyd: Fueling our bodies with the proper nutrients is so critical to our health. Join Chandler for a 30-minute cooking class and learn to make an easy recipe (and cocktail!) that fit your busy schedule and is phenomenal for your health! Chandler Boyd is a graduate of UCLA and went on to be a Lakers Girl for the LA Lakers. She is now a personal trainer and ACE certified Nutrition Specialist.

Wednesday, May 12: 7pm For Teens: Managing Stress and Anxiety with Karen Dillon Karen Dillon

Presenting Sponsor: Omnicom Group Crystal Sponsor: JP Morgan Private Bank

Ali Rogin

Emily Goldberg is a genetic counselor for the JScreen program. Richard Zelkowitz, MD, is Regional Medical Director of the Breast Program for the Fairfield Region in the Hartford Hospital Healthcare network and member of the BCA Medical Advisory Board.

Emily Goldberg

Sunday, May 16: • 9am Yoga and Guided Meditation with Karen Dillon • 10am Fitness for Women After Breast Cancer with Donna Wilson, RN, MSN, RRT/Personal Trainer

Richard Zelkowitz, MD

• 11am The Benefits of Essential Oil with Essentially Namaste

Sunday, May 23: • 9am Burn with Mandy DiMarzo • 9:30am Barre with LL Country Barre

Mandy DiMarzo

• 10am Total Body Strength with Ali Cerone • 11am Mindful Movement with JB Mallah

Saturday, May 29: • 9am Boxing with Ben Dawson • 9:30am Barre with Forme Barre

Ben Dawson

• 12:30pm Yoga with Katie Wee

Spring 2021 9


My name is Evan Margolin, I am 48 years old and this story begins in June 2020 during the height of the pandemic. I was laying in bed with my wife, when she felt a pea-sized lump on my right breast and said, “What is this?” I said, “No idea, but I have a dermatologist appointment in three weeks. I will ask the dermatologist.” Before I go on, I should mention that breast cancer runs rampant in my family. Some of my earliest memories are of growing up in a two-family house in the Bronx where my grandparents lived upstairs, and we lived downstairs. I remember my grandma sitting with her arms crossed when she was not wearing her prosthetic breasts. I only later learned that she was diagnosed with breast cancer at 38, had a mastectomy, and then at 65 the cancer returned in her other breast, which she also had removed. My Grandma “Baba” had three sisters, two of whom also had breast cancer and the third died at an early age of ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, the next generation was also not spared — one of my cousins is currently battling breast cancer and another recently lost the battle. My Baba had 3 kids, includOther than the ing my mom who thankfully has not bad news of this had breast cancer diagnosis, I know and does not have that I am truly a the BRCA mutation. My mom’s lucky man. I am sister is a BRCA privileged to have positive breast access to the cancer survivor and my mom’s amazing doctors brother is BRCA that treated me positive, but fortuand continue to nately has not had breast cancer. treat me. Back to my story. Even with this history and the awareness and exposure I have had throughout my life, I didn’t think anything of the lump we felt. Life was business as usual until Tuesday, July 21st when I went to see my dermatologist,



Dr. Pomerantz, to whom I am eternally grateful. She said, “I don’t want to be an alarmist, but I don’t like this. You need to have it looked at. I have a friend, Dr. Susan Drossman, who is a diagnostic radiologist who should take a look. I will call her and get you an appointment.” Dr. Drossman fit me in the next day, did a needle biopsy and told me she would call the following day with results. As promised, she called Thursday with the bad news that it was cancer and she asked me to come back for a mammogram and a closer look at both breasts. On the ride into the city, I spoke to my best friend since I was a teenager, Dr. Heather Landau, the best friend anyone could ask for — especially if you need anything cancer related. She is a Hematologic Oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering. In her loving way, she assured me that everything would be ok and she would start the process of getting me an appointment with a breast specialist there. In the meantime, Dr. Drossman took a closer and more detailed look and fortunately didn’t find anything else of concern. She said, “I know your friend at MSKCC is going to assist with potential treatment there, but would you also like to meet my friend, Dr. Elisa Port at Mount Sinai?” I thought that it was a good idea to get another opinion. Dr. Drossman called Dr. Port, told her my situation and she arranged for me to be seen on Monday. That Monday my wife and I found Dr. Port to be one of the warmest, kindest, most caring doctors we had ever met. She spent over an hour

educating us on the disease, her specific expertise in treating male breast cancer and advising us on next steps, which included a mastectomy. By the end of our meeting, I was confident that I was in great hands and didn’t need to look any further. “So, when can we do it?” I asked. She scheduled me for the following Tuesday, August 4th, exactly two weeks from the start of this saga. Over the next eight days, as I prepared for surgery, I didn’t feel sorry for myself and I wasn’t depressed. I stayed positive and thought “until there is something else to worry about, I am going to assume that I will be alright.” I also stayed away from the internet. After reading Dr. Port’s The New Generation Cancer Book I realized there was nothing I was going to find on Google that she didn’t already know. Other than the bad news of this diagnosis, I know that I am truly a lucky man. I am privileged to have access to the amazing doctors that treated me and continue to treat me, including my Oncologist, Dr. Amy Tiersten. I know that only having to wait two weeks from the date of diagnosis to surgery is not the norm and was the result of a few lucky connections and introductions. Finally, I have been blessed with lots of subsequent good news...the cancer did not spread, the mastectomy was successful, I am negative for the BRCA mutation, my Oncotype score was low so I didn’t need chemotherapy and I am tolerating Tamoxifen well. It is now approximately 6 months since my mastectomy and I am thankful that the recovery has been relatively uneventful; not fun and not without a good amount of stress, pain and discomfort, but all tolerable. Since my diagnosis I have been very open about my situation.

The Margolin Family

Once surgery was scheduled I began telling family, friends and co-workers what was happening. Shortly after the mastectomy I realized I had a very important story to tell — a story that could potentially save another person’s life. I love my job and have been blessed with a fulfilling and lucrative career in commercial real estate, but helping people solve their office space problems does not compare to the ability to save a life. My goal is to spread awareness to men that breast cancer is not only a disease for women. I learned that approximately 1% of breast cancer cases in the United States occur in men, and while that is a small number, it means 2,000 new cases each year. When I tell my story to other gentlemen, I suggest they feel around their breast to be sure that there is nothing unusual. To any men reading this, I suggest you do the same. Most of the guys I speak to admit that they never checked their breasts in this manner, which I understand. Even with all of the breast cancer in my family, I never checked mine…fortunately my wife did!

Special thanks to my wife who I am only just was so supportive during this beginning to underjourney, the best stand the impact nurse and caretakthis wonderful er anyone could ask for; to my organization has family and friends on breast cancer who checked on research and look me, constantly sending love and forward to being well wishes; to more involved and Jen Dreilinger, for fulfilling my goal of introducing me to Yonni; to Yonni, spreading awareand Breast Cancer ness to men about Alliance, for allowing me to tell my breast cancer. story. I am only just beginning to understand the impact this wonderful organization has on breast cancer research and look forward to being more involved and fulfilling my goal of spreading awareness to men about breast cancer. Finally, thank you for taking the time to read this!

Spring 2021 11


48 Maple Avenue Greenwich, CT 06830

Just BeCAuse

Send a box of sweet treats to a loved one… Just BeCAuse! Just BeCAuse you love them. Just BeCAuse you miss them. Just BeCAuse they are prepping for finals. Just BeCAuse you want them to smile! Seven different boxes by OG Baked Bits, are available to purchase for any day or a holiday! To order a gift for your special someone, go to http://weblink.donorperfect.com/justbecause


MEDICAL SYMPOSIUM Alternatives in Pain Management in Breast Cancer and the Spine Thursday, April 22, 12pm EST This event is free but registration is required: breastcanceralliance.org/events Presenting Sponsor: Daiichi Sankyo In partnership with Focused Ultrasound Foundation, National Spine Health Foundation and Theraplant Moderated by: Dr. Natalie Azar, NBC News Forum Panel: Dr. Niteesh Bharara, Director, Regenerative Medicine, Virginia Spine Institute Dr. Alka Gupta, CMO and Co-Founder, Bluerock Care Dr. Suzanne LeBlang, Director of Clinical Relationships, Focused Ultrasound Foundation Ethan Ruby, Founder, Theraplant Yonni Wattenmaker, Executive Director, Breast Cancer Alliance

Breast Cancer Alliance 48 Maple Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06830 Yonni Wattenmaker, Executive Director breastcanceralliance.org




Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.