Karmanos Cancer Institute recognized its 2019 Heroes of Cancer

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute recognized its 2019 Heroes of Cancer at an evening reception held Nov. 6, at The Gem Theatre, in Detroit. This year's event celebrated Karmanos' 25th year of honoring individuals and organizations that have distinguished themselves and inspired others as they advocate for and raise awareness of all types of cancers. More than 150 guests gathered to pay tribute to these unsung heroes. Ann Delisi, radio/television personality and host of Ann Delisi's Essential Music on WDET101.9 FM, served as emcee and was also one of this year's honorees.

This year's 15 award categories recognized a wide range of community members including survivors, organizations, medical and scientific leaders, and media representatives – all who champion for those battling cancer. Whether it's raising awareness to help prevent the disease or detect it early, providing services to help patients and their families, inspiring others while faced with cancer or fundraising to help advance cancer research to improve outcomes and enhance survivorship, each of these individuals, organizations and groups make a difference for those impacted with cancer.

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"This event is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the extraordinary achievements of those dedicated to making life better for all cancer patients and their families," said Katrina Studvent, chief development officer, Karmanos Cancer Institute. "Each year, we're honored to shed light on the inspirational heroes who, in their own way, help make a difference for those touched by this disease."

Karmanos Cancer Institute is metro Detroit's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, treating more than 200 types of cancer. Proud to be part of McLaren Health Care, Karmanos now has 16 treatment locations throughout Michigan, making it the largest provider of cancer care and research in the state.

"I feel privileged to work with the incredibly gifted team at Karmanos who help develop new cancer therapies that other health organizations will use in the future," said Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Karmanos Cancer Institute and chair of the Department of Oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine.

"Our scientists are world leaders in cancer treatment development. Each is dedicated to the well-being of cancer patients, helping to advance treatment breakthroughs that can lead to improved outcomes – not just for those treated at Karmanos but for all cancer patients. It takes all of us working together to provide the multi-faceted support needed for cancer patients and their loved ones to survive and thrive. I am humbled by this year's honorees and truly grateful for all they do to help those impacted by cancer."

Community Service Award

Recognizing an individual or organization for assisting in efforts to reach the community with the importance of cancer early detection, cancer care, and/or survivorship, in a volunteer capacity.

  • Organization: Prevent Cancer Foundation. Accepting the award was Jeanne Melton, oncology nurse navigator for lung cancer at Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Northern Michigan, and Izabela Babinska, foundation relations officer for the McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation, both from Petoskey.

The mission of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, based in Alexandrea, Virginia, is to save lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection. The Foundation’s programs have impacted thousands of lives, providing resources specifically targeted at prevention and screening. In August 2018, the Prevent Cancer Foundation awarded the McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation a grant to support an early lung cancer screening and a smoking cessation program. During the past year, the grant has provided early lung cancer screenings for more than 400 people and has helped launch cancer prevention education programs to more than 30,000 individuals across northern Michigan. Additionally, the grant has served as a catalyst for the Karmanos Cancer Network to implement software that connects electronic medical records to the America College of Radiology (ACR) Lung Cancer Screening Registry. This allows screenings performed across the network to be reimbursed by health insurance.

"All of us at the Prevent Cancer Foundation are thrilled to be honored with this Heroes of Cancer Community Service Award from the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. The Foundation has been solely dedicated to cancer prevention and early detection since 1985. Thank you for recognizing our contributions to helping communities stop cancer before it starts!" — Erica Childs Warner, senior director, Evaluation & Outreach