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News : Local Published: Oct 16, 2007 - 8:19:27 AM


SWIMís 12th annual breast cancer luncheon will bring hope to many women

By Press Release


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St. Vincentís SWIM Across the Sound will host its 12th annual Breast Cancer Luncheon on Friday, October 19 at the Holiday Inn in Bridgeport . The event will begin with a Silent Auction at 10am, followed by lunch at 12pm.

Thanks to underwriting sponsorships, 100% of the funds raised from the luncheon will be used to help women battling cancer and raise awareness about mammograms for the elderly and underserved, funding of wigs and prostheses, medication assistance, free transportation to treatments and appointments, day care scholarships and support groups.

This yearís featured speaker, Milford resident Mary Ann Wasil Nilan is a model, actress and breast cancer survivor who began her journey as a health activist after she allowed a photographer to chronicle her chemotherapy and double mastectomy experience for Time Magazine.

Included amongst Nilanís career highlights is a decade-long role on the ABC soap opera, ďAll My Children,Ē as well as numerous independent films, commercials and voice-overs. She currently is Director of Advancement and Enthusiasm at St. Ann School and Church in Devon, Connecticut, works in Elementary School Development for the National Catholic Educational Association and is founder and president of the Get In Touch Foundation, a non-profit organization which encourages girls of all ages to get in touch with their bodies, other women and information in the crusade against breast cancer.

Three and a half years ago, Nilan was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and began a protocol of dose dense chemotherapy, followed by a bi-lateral mastectomy. Although breast cancer most frequently targets women age 40 to 55, Nilan was diagnosed at age 39.

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer. This year more than 175,000 new cases of female invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed and 43,000 women will die from the disease. While rare, it is also possible for men to develop breast cancer. Annual breast examinations by a medical professional are required complements to annual screening mammograms.

Co-chairs of the event, Barbara Massaro and Joyce Riccio, along with Diane Mercado, director of the auction, were able to raise a record $210,000 last year.

Jan Williams, co-owner of Captainís Cove, who has gone public in her own fight against cancer, will be honored at the luncheon for her generous work supporting the SWIM. Williams took the voluntary role of co-chair of the SWIM in 2005 and is the co-founder of the annual Bluefish Tournament, which involves hundreds of fishermen from Connecticut and Long Island Sound. She is a life-long resident of Black Rock and married to Rob Burlinson, a tri-athlete who participates in SWIM events.

Ticket donations for the luncheon are $60 at sponsor level and $120 for patron. Local businesses can also sponsor the luncheonís centerpieces for $200.

To purchase tickets for the luncheon or for more information, call St. Vincent ís Foundation office at 576-5451.




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