Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey’s Third Annual IMPACT Luncheon Raises $60,000

By: Olivia Bonevento, Guest Blogger for Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey

Every year at the annual IMPACT Luncheon, the team at Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey has a goal that unites the committee members, volunteers, attendees, sponsors and staff alike: to truly make an IMPACT in the fight against breast cancer.

The third-annual and strategically named IMPACT Luncheon does just that. The event, located at The Hamilton Manor every year, has a distinct aim to educate about breast cancer, all while raising funds for breast cancer services in local communities that the organization serves. This year’s IMPACT Luncheon raised $60,000 for the fight against breast cancer.

The IMPACT Luncheon, sponsored by TD Bank, On Target Staffing, RWJBarnabas Health and Hackensack Meridian Health, featured plentiful networking opportunities, raffles, prizes and fabulous swag bags donated by Macy’s. Two guest speakers shared just how far research, care and treatment of breast cancer has come in the last twenty-five years, and how organizations like Komen CSNJ are looking towards the future to end this disease for good.

Our two speakers this year were both, in their own way, inspiring, educational and insightful. M. Michelle Blackwood, MD, FACS, and Yibin Kang, PhD, each brought to the table their impressive credentials and their desire to end breast cancer forever through ground-breaking research and strategies.

Kang, a Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University and renowned Komen Scholar, shared advancements made in treatments for metastatic breast cancer, thanks to the work of Komen-funded research grants. He is dedicated to his research, which focuses on the molecular mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis.

With help from Komen funding, Kang’s laboratory applies a multidisciplinary approach to analyze the molecular basis of cancer metastasis, combining molecular biology and genomics tools with animal models and vivo-imaging technologies.

His work and dedication to research has not gone unnoticed, for Dr. Kang has published multiple articles in leading journals such as Science, Cancer Cell, and Nature Medicine and has been recognized with many prestigious awards throughout his career.

Kang has been supported as a Komen Scholar for twelve years, and these grants have directly helped his research journey. Throughout his talk on the impact his research is making, he expressed his gratitude to Komen.

That is one of our main goals of Susan G. Komen — to empower those going individuals who conduct the life-saving research that will “end breast cancer forever.”

(L-R): Dr. Yibin Kang; Dr. M. Michele Blackwood

Blackwood spoke about her optimism about the future of ending breast cancer.

Blackwood, Chief, Section of Breast Surgery of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Medical Director, Northern Regional Director of Breast Services for RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH), discussed the latest statistics in breast cancer incidence over the past few years, and touched on the need for advocacy for breast cancer patients by doctors.

Blackwood expressed her passion for bringing patients “from cancer to health,” and that there are so many new advancements in breast cancer treatment and care that she is excited about: new medicines and innovations that will truly change the course of this terrible disease. Statistics are changing, she told the audience, and death rates are going down.

Despite this progress, Blackwood says we “cannot drop the ball.” There are 3.1 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States, yes, but what is next for these survivors after chemotherapy and surgery is complete? One of the biggest problems in the breast cancer industry, according to Blackwood, is that patients feel alone and not checked in on enough after the first year of treatment. The concerns of patients are endless, and Blackwood wants to create a physician-led program to answer the question: “What doctor is going to manage all of this?”

It is evident through the two speakers we were honored to have at the 2019 IMPACT Luncheon, and through all of the support we receive on a daily basis, that Komen Central and South Jersey is a force to be reckoned with in the fight against breast cancer.

The funds raised from the IMPACT Luncheon will help to provide individuals in our communities with life-saving breast cancer services, such as mammograms, patient navigation, breast cancer education and more. A portion of these proceeds will benefit national research initiatives and priorities, including metastatic breast cancer treatments and disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

The support we have behind us and the communities we work hard to make a difference for help us further our vision of a world without breast cancer each and every day.

For event photos, please click here.

About Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey
Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey (Komen CSNJ) is working to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in the local community. Through events like the Komen CSNJ Race for the Cure®, Komen CSNJ has invested nearly $16 million in community breast health programs in its 13-county service area and has helped contribute to the more than $920 million invested globally in research. For more information, call 609–896–1201 or visit komencsnj.org.

Our mission is to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent & cure breast cancer.