Breast Cancer ‘Warriors’ Celebrated at Pink Ribbon Tea

CANFIELD, Ohio – More than 300 women – breast cancer survivors and those who support them – gathered Monday at Waypoint 4180 for the 27th annual Pink Ribbon Tea sponsored by the Junior League of Mahoning Valley.

The event brought out women of all ages, many of them dressed in pink, the color that has come to represent breast cancer awareness, which is commemorated nationwide during October.

The Junior League invites breast cancer survivors to attend the luncheon free of charge. About 250 women stood up to applause as they were recognized by their number of years in remission.

“You drew upon your strength and resilience to get through your journey” said Dr. Amy Awaida from the Hope Center for Cancer Care.

Awaida’s message resonated with optimism.

She told how breast cancer survival rates have greatly improved over the last 25 years – the result of better technology and earlier detection. Surgical procedures have advanced as has the practice of radiation oncology.

“Genetic testing on each person’s tumors now determines who needs chemotherapy. Many women do not,” Awaida said.

“The power of the women in this room pushed the treatments and the research,” she said. “And this accelerated research for all cancers.”

Michelle Apple, a three-year survivor of breast cancer, told how she started a foundation to help women undergoing treatment pay their medical bills.

Michelle Apple addresses the Pink Ribbon Tea Monday at Waypoint 4180.

Apple refers to survivors as “warriors.” In the two years since her Apple Breast Cancer Warrior Foundation was established, it has raised more than $70,000, she said, and patients in need of financial assistance have received an average of $1,500 apiece.

The foundation matches newly diagnosed women with a “breast care warrior mentor,” Apple said. And it provides comfort bags to patients at the Joannie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center, the Hope Center and the Blood and Cancer Center.

“It’s a sisterhood among us. We know what you’re going through,” Apple said.

“Breast cancer doesn’t define you. Let it inspire you to help others.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.