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  • Women’s Health Empowerment Project (WHEP) – Day 3 Recap

    WHEP Conference ParticipantsSince 2004, we have been working with American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee on the Women’s Health Empowerment Project to develop and build breast cancer awareness programs in Russia. WHEP is an innovative overseas public education movement that encourages the early detection of breast cancer. The program is currently active in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro and Russia. WHEP is presenting results of its four years of work in Russia and upcoming programs aimed at reducing mortality rates from breast cancer – a disease that kills 25,000 women in Russia each year. Our own Susan Brown and Ana Teasdale will be blogging from the conference itself, but did want to share some local color.

    We did it!  We met breast cancer survivors, physicians and representatives from local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) just as we hoped we would. We want to thank Academician Sukhih Gennadiy Tihonovich, Academician Adomyan Layla Vladimirovna, Academician Rozhkova Nadezhda Ivanovna and Professor Prilepskaya Vera Nickolayevna for their contributions that made this conference a success for more than 200 people in attendance.   We are very happy to be expressing our gratitude to them in writing rather than verbally and thus avoiding a possible international incident by mispronouncing their names.

    Medical experts from leading institutions in Moscow opened the Third National Women’s Health Conference with presentations to illustrate the state of breast and cervical cancers in Russia, existing challenges, and possible solutions. Speakers from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States shared their unique experiences, all focused on raising awareness and early detection. Komen’s contribution was acknowledged by several speakers including a breast cancer survivor from Tver. As invited speakers, we shared the inspiring Komen story and described Komen’s many and varied programs aimed at raising awareness and early detection around the world.

    It felt like a long, full day and then we realized it had been a long full day because even though it was still light outside, it was 10pm.

    Note about photo: This photo was taken by renowned Vladimir Bashta, the husband of Katya Bashta, JDC/Russia WHEP director, who was recently awarded the Russian version of the Oscar for cinematography.  We have requested that he accompany us for the rest of the trip with his camera.  Check photos on the previous two blogs to see why.

    WHEP Conference JDC Komen Team

  • Women’s Health Empowerment Project (WHEP) – Day 2 Recap

    Since 2004, we have been working with American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee on the Women’s Health Empowerment Project to develop and build breast cancer awareness programs in Russia. WHEP is an innovative overseas public education movement that encourages the early detection of breast cancer. The program is currently active in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro and Russia. WHEP is presenting results of its four years of work in Russia and upcoming programs aimed at reducing mortality rates from breast cancer – a disease that kills 25,000 women in Russia each year. Our own Susan Brown and Ana Teasdale will be blogging from the conference itself, but did want to share some local color.

    In order to prepare for the conference and really get to know local customs and culture, we set out to find authentic local Russian food.  Our hosts took us to Pavilion at Patriarshy, an authentic Russian restaurant with pictures and music from the Soviet era.  After sampling borscht with duck breast, piroshkies with cabbage, chicken, or meat, and vareniki with sour cherries we felt ready to start the conference where we hope to meet breast cancer survivors, physicians, and representatives from local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

    This conference, the Third National Conference on Women’s Health, was organized by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. JDC and Komen for the Cure have been supporting the Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP) in Russia since 2007. This program established 14 peer support groups with more than 500 active participants, trains doctors on preventing professional burnout, and conducts educational outreach programs.

    As we were getting ready to leave the restaurant and return to the hotel, we were shocked to learn that our food was not actually considered authentic Russian, but rather Ukrainian!  So, the quest for authentic Russian food continues.

     

  • Komen Italia’s “Pink Evening”

    Could there be anything more magical than a pink castle? Illuminated in pink light from the tops of the towers to the edge of the moat, the Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano, Italy honored Italian women and men who have faced or are facing breast cancer by glowing pink May 12 – 14.

    The castle, made famous by Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes as their wedding location, turned pink as an opening event for breast cancer initiatives culminating in the Susan G. Komen Rome Race for the Cure®, Komen’s largest international Race, which will be held next Sunday. The castle’s inaugural lighting featured president of Susan G. Komen Italia, Professor Riccardo Masetti, Paola Lucci, deputy mayor for gender policies, and Princess Maria Pace Odescalchi, the owner of the 500-year-old castle.

    The people of Bracciano, a small town outside of Rome, and the Odescalchi family sponsored and supported this Susan G. Komen Italia initiative and will continue to support the Komen Rome Race for the Cure, which takes place May 22 at the Stadio delle Terme di Caracalla.

    Check out our slideshow of the castle below.

  • Women’s Health Empowerment Project (WHEP) – Day 1 Recap

    Susan G. Komen for the Cure Employees in RussiaSince 2004, we have been working with American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee on the Women’s Health Empowerment Project to develop and build breast cancer awareness programs in Russia. WHEP is an innovative overseas public education movement that encourages the early detection of breast cancer. The program is currently active in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro and Russia. WHEP is presenting results of its four years of work in Russia and upcoming programs aimed at reducing mortality rates from breast cancer – a disease that kills 25,000 women in Russia each year. Our own Susan Brown and Ana Teasdale will be blogging from the conference itself, but did want to share some local color.

    After 13 hours on an airplane from the US to Moscow, a one hour process through customs, another one hour drive to the hotel and a quick nap, we set out to see Moscow!  Even though it is mid May, it was gray and windy with the temperature only in the mid 40s. This did not stop us from meeting with our program partners from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC): Itai Shamir (from JDC/NY), Katya Bashta (from JDC/Russia) and Nela Hasic (from JDC/Bosnia and Herzegovina).

    Decked out in our Komen team shirts, we took in the impressive “must-see” sites of Moscow. We saw the Novodevichy Convent, Stalin’s Seven Sisters and the statue of Peter the Great. Passing the Kremlin, we ended at Red Square, also the site of Lenin’s Mausoleum and St. Basil’s Cathedral.  Some say that that the name Red Square comes from the color of the bricks surrounding it, others say that it of political nature, and still others say that it is from the Russian word meaning beautiful.  It was beautiful.

  • Happy Mother’s Day!

    Happy Mother’s Day to all of our friends and a special Happy Mother’s Day to our friends surviving breast cancer today!

    There are many traditions around Mother’s Day and one of ours is the annual “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” program with Major League Baseball.  Every Mother’s Day, MLB players, coaches and umpires wear pink wristbands and pink ribbon decals and use pink bats on this special day.

    And, to recognize and honor those who have faced breast cancer, MLB recognizes 30 “Honorary Bat Girls” for Mother’s Day. The winners are selected from more than 1,500 entries written by themselves, family or friends about a special person facing breast cancer. See the contestants and winners and their stories at www.HonoraryBatGirl.com.

    Each Honorary Bat Girl takes part in pre-game activities, is honored during an on-field ceremony, and receives pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game. For Clubs that are away on Mother’s Day, another home game in May will be selected to recognize that team’s Honorary Bat Girl.

    In the three years of this program, more than 4,000 testimonials have been submitted and more than six million fan votes have been cast.

    Thanks to Major League Baseball for doing its part to end breast cancer, forever, and thanks to all the Moms out there!