Sunday, November 13, 2016

Recap: Handbags of Hope Hudson County Charity Event Benefiting TN Breast Cancer Foundation

On October 16th, Handbags of Hope Exchange held a "Belles in Pink" held a Kentucky Derby themed breast cancer awareness fundraising brunch held at the Culinary Conference Center in Jersey City, NJ to honor the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation (100% of the event profits are being donated to charity). 

The fundraising brunch included several event speakers including Dr. Julie DiGiola (Chief of Surgical Oncology & Medical Director of The Cristie Kerr Women's Center at Jersey City Medical Center), Amber Marchese (Reality TV Star: Bravo TV's "Real Housewives of New Jersey" & WE tv's "Marriage Bootcamp: Reality Stars), Dr. Garrett Wirth (Co-Author) of "Personalized Breast Care, A Guide for Cosmetic Surgery, Breast Cancer and Reconstruction"), and Anita Kopacz (Editor-in-Chief, Heart & Soul Magazine). 

Dr. Gioia serves as Chief of Surgical Oncology and is the Medical Director of The Cristie Kerr Women's Center, the first comprehensive state of the art diagnostic imaging facility in Hudson County.  

Marchese, a New Jersey mother, wife, business owner and fearless breast cancer survivor discussed her story, from diagnosis at 31 years old to lessons learned.Jersey City native Dr. Julia DiGioia discussed high risk breast cancer prevention and treatment options. 

Co-author of "Personalized Breast Care, A Guide for Cosmetic Surgery, Breast Cancer and Reconstruction;" Dr. Garrett Wirth shared his new Fenestrated FlexHD pliable allograft - or "internal bra", as it's been dubbed - which allows patients to endure less time with tissue expanders, and more direct-to-implant reconstruction. 

Wirth shared some important breast reconstruction facts with us. Only about 4 out of every 10 women undergoing mastectomy are being offered their breast reconstruction options. Immediate breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as a mastectomy. Regardless of radiation, breast reconstruction is always an option. Microsurgical breast reconstruction using a patient's own tissue is the gold standard for reconstruction. 

"Women are ready to go beyond just the physical healing," explains Heart & Soul Editor-in-Chief, Anita Kopacz. Kopacz shared her tips for using meditation to find balance and inner strength. 

"About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime," explains Handbags of Hope Exchange founder, Erika Hernandez. "When women support each other incredible things happen. I have seen many friends silently suffer in fear and I want this event to be a platform that shows women that they ar not alone in their fight" shares Hernandez.

- Kim Weling

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