FOR RELEASE: 3/31/2011Contact: Jackie Keren, (203) 255-5300

Award-winning actress Vanessa Williams to headline Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center benefit

Multi-faceted, award-winning performer Vanessa Williams will deliver the keynote address at the June 16 Rose of Hope Luncheon, a benefit for the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center.

Williams has sold millions of albums worldwide and achieved critical acclaim as an actress on stage, in film and on television. She has received two NAACP Image Awards, which celebrate the achievements of people of color in the arts and their efforts to promote social justice through their creative endeavors.

Vanessa Williams

The Breast Care Center, the first free-standing, community-based breast care center in Connecticut, has been helping women in the community fight breast cancer for over a decade.

One of the area’s largest and most publicized fundraisers, the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center’s Rose of Hope Luncheon takes place each year in June, with over 350 Fairfield County women and men attending.

The luncheon serves as an important source of funds for the Breast Care Center’s programs for women in need, including their Medically Underserved Initiative, which provides free health care to uninsured or underinsured women. Close to 500 women receive free screening and diagnostic services each year, making it the largest program of free care in the area.

The luncheon also raises money for the Breast Care Center’s supportive services, including bi-lingual counseling, a school-based education program, and their new women wellness services in Fairfield.

“Our comprehensive program of women’s wellness services, staffed completely by women, is the first of its kind in Fairfield County,” says Dr. Donna Twist, executive director of the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center. “We feel it's part of our mission to support overall health in women to protect them from breast and other cancers.”

Offerings include yoga, massage, mental health counseling, naturopathic medicine, nutrition counseling and Pilates, in addition to plastic surgery, breast surgery and general surgery.

The luncheon is for anyone with an interest in breast cancer. Each year, a well known celebrity with an interest in women’s issues and women’s health delivers the keynote address.

“We’re so excited to have Vanessa Williams deliver the keynote address,” says Twist. “Vanessa is an accomplished woman who takes time out from her busy life to raise awareness of women’s health issues and to support causes that benefit women and children. As someone who has faced many challenges in her life, both professionally and as a single mother of four beautiful children, she is a role model for our patients and survivors who have to find strength within themselves to fight cancer.”

Daneen Grabe and Linda Blackwell, both of Fairfield, will co-chair the Rose of Hope Luncheon. Both are active members of the Breast Care Center’s President’s Council and Advisory Board. The event will honor Board Members Lynne Taikowski and Donna Craft with the Rose of Hope Award in recognition of their tireless support of the Center.

For the seventh consecutive year, the Rose of Hope Luncheon will be held at the home of Patti and Tom Keegan in Fairfield. The luncheon is sponsored by Connie DeMattia and the DeMattia Foundation and People’s United Wealth Management and Trust.

For ticket information, call 203-255-5300.

Part of the Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute at Bridgeport Hospital, the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center has served more than 18,000 women and their families since it was established in 1999. A member of the prestigious National Consortium of Breast Care Centers, the Center provides a wide range of diagnostic care and treatment at its Bridgeport Hospital and Fairfield locations, including medical oncology, surgical and chemotherapy services, plastic surgery, mammography and radiation therapy, and genetic risk assessment as well as opportunities to participate in clinical trials.

The Breast Care Center office at 111 Beach Road in Fairfield also provides comprehensive women’s wellness services, including nutrition counseling, massage and Reiki therapy, wig and prosthesis fitting, counseling, yoga, Pilates, naturopathic medicine, and other patient support activities. The Center has a satellite office on Park Avenue in Trumbull.

For more information call (203) 255-5300 or visit the Center on the web at

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Part of Yale New Haven Health System, Bridgeport Hospital is a 383-bed acute care hospital (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital) serving parts of Fairfield and New Haven counties. The hospital admits more than 18,000 patients and receives more than 240,000 outpatient visits annually.