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Norma Pfriem Breast Center virtual event raises $475,000 for breast cancer patients and families

Friday, October 2, 2020

FAIRFIELD, CT (Oct. 2, 2020) – Viewed online by at least 300 people, Norma Pfriem Breast Center’s first Rose of Hope virtual event on Sept. 25 drew raised over $465,000 to benefit programs for breast cancer patients and their families. Bank of America was the lead corporate sponsor.

“Over the last few months, we have witnessed tremendous challenges,” said Elise Bucknall, who co-chaired the event with fellow Fairfield resident Lynne Taikowski, who leads the center’s president’s council, and Donna Twist, PhD, vice president, Development, Bridgeport Hospital, and center executive director.

“Despite the immense challenges this year has presented, Norma Pfriem Breast Cancer Center has persevered in the fight against breast cancer,” said Bill Tommins, Southern Connecticut market president for Bank of America. “The success of the recent virtual Rose of Hope event demonstrates how valued Norma Pfriem Breast Center is to the community. Bank of America thanks them for their partnership and the opportunity to positively impact so many patients and families' lives.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put an incredible strain on our medical system, but the patients of breast center are still battling cancer on top of everything else, which is why we could not cancel our Rose of Hope event,” Bucknall said. For 20 years the center’s annual Rose of Hope fundraiser was a live event that drew hundreds of guests annually. It was transformed into a webcast this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Webcast viewers were entertained by Tony and Grammy Award winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, who played Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law Angelica in the original cast of the Broadway hit Hamilton. Viewers also heard from two breast cancer survivors, Amy Barnouw and Janeen Fountain.

“One of the greatest gifts I received from Norma Pfriem Breast Center was learning how to live with and after a cancer diagnosis,” Barnouw said. “What I learned quickly is that breast cancer isn’t a bump in the road, it’s a stop sign. Getting a breast cancer diagnosis is fraught with such tremendous terror and fear. The breast center gave me tools to thrive during and after the treatment process.”

“The staff at Norma Pfriem Breast Center helped me keep my own life as normal as possible for my children,” said Fountain. I was unable to work full time due to treatment, doctors’ appointments and days where I just didn’t feel well. I am so grateful for the help that the Norma Pfriem Breast Center provided. It was an integral part of my success in my fight against breast cancer. It gave me emotional, physical and financial support during one of the most challenging times of our lives.”

“What truly moved me when learning about Norma Pfriem Breast Center is that each year over 1,500 women receive treatment and services made possible by philanthropy from donors,” Goldsberry said. “It’s amazing to hear the breast center understands that to be able to feel strong enough to fight cancer, you need to know that your family is taken care of in the process."

“Thank you to the amazingly talented Renée Elise Goldsberry for sharing her incredible voice and heart with us, and to Amy and Janeen for sharing their stories of hope," said Twist. “Because of COVID-19, the breast center had to cancel many of our fundraising events and provide patients with much more financial support.”

The center’s Rose of Hope Award for outstanding philanthropic support was presented to David and Judy Nessel and the Nessel Family Foundation in memory of Amy Nessel, and accepted by Amy’s son, Sawyer Nessel.

In addition to Bank of America, Twist said the virtual Rose of Hope event would not have been possible without the support of other sponsors including the DeMattia Charitable Foundation, event sponsor; Elise Bucknall, Jim and Roberta Conroy, benefactors; the Fuchs Family Foundation, Rose of Courage sponsor; and the Rowland family and Norma and Jeff Stoltman, Rose of Humanity sponsors.

“In a year when Bridgeport Hospital and other hospitals have been challenged by COVID-19, Donna Twist and her team at Norma Pfriem Breast Center are to be commended for devising a creative alternative to their signature fundraising event,” said Bridgeport Hospital President Anne Diamond. The Breast Center and its generous donors were able to remain focused on the important task of supporting compassionate, high quality care and services for patients and their families.”

Bridgeport Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health, is a non-profit 501-bed acute care hospital with two campuses (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale New Haven Children's Hospital). Its Bridgeport and Milford Campuses serve patients from across the region. The hospital admits more than 23,000 patients and provides nearly 350,000 outpatient treatments annually. The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital is the only burn center in the state and one of only 64 verified burn centers in the United States. Bridgeport Hospital is committed to providing safe, compassionate and cost efficient care to its patients and the community.

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