October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it got an early boost on Sept. 19 when Bridgeport Hospital broke ground on a 120,000-square-foot medical office building in Trumbull that will be home to the Smilow Cancer Center.
The center is one of three that fall under Bridgeport Hospital’s fully accredited Norma F. Pfriem Breast Cancer Care Center; the other is at Bridgeport Hospital and the largest is located on Beach Road in Fairfield.
Dr. Donna Twist, executive director of the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Cancer Care Center and vice president of the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation, caught up with state Rep. Tony Hwang at the groundbreaking to talk about the critical health care services the center provides to women.
Of course, Hwang is no stranger to Twist and the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Cancer Care Center. He’s been one of the center’s most loyal supporters, and each year attends its signature fundraising event, Roses of Hope Luncheon.
“Tony has been a wonderful supporter of all of our centers, especially the Fairfield location, which is our largest,” Twist said.
When it opens in early 2016, the new building will serve as the hub of a comprehensive outpatient campus, conveniently located just off Merritt Parkway Exit 47 and almost exactly at the spot where Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield and Trumbull come together, according to Bridgeport Hospital.
“Not only will this new building bring critical services closer to our community, it will help save lives and support families in the battle against breast cancer, right in the comfort and convenience of their own neighborhoods,” Hwang said.
By way of background, Twist explained that the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center was the first of its kind as a free-standing community center when it was built in 1999. Since that time, it has grown tremendously into a nationally recognized center where women and their families can get the treatment and resources they need in the battle against breast cancer.
What’s so incredibly special about the center is that it provides care to women regardless of their ability to pay. Last year, Twist said, 1,030 women were served free of charge.
“We can be sure that we saved lives because of the care we were able to provide these ladies,” Twist said.
That’s why fundraisers like the Roses of Hope Luncheon are so important, and why Hwang is committed to doing everything in his power to help.
“I want to promote the breast care center and the wonderful services it provides for people,” Hwang said. “It’s had a profound impact on my family members that have gotten great care during their battle against cancer.”
Hwang recalled how the Roses of Hope Luncheon includes speeches by some of the women the Center has served.
“The stories of the real life survivors that Dr. Twist and the organization have made an impact on are just incredible. I am deeply touched by it,” Hwang said.
Hwang turned to Twist and added, “You will have my unequivocal commitment that I will do everything in my power to be supportive of your incredible mission.”
“You have been a wonderful supporter to the breast center,” Twist said. “You have helped us to expand our care and you’ve helped us to expand our mission, and I appreciate all the support you’ve given us and your continued support, Tony.”
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, regardless of race or ethnicity, according to the CDC. More than 220,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States in 2011, and nearly 41,000 died from it that year.
To learn more about the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center, visit the organization’s website: http://www2.bridgeporthospital.com/cancer/breast/default.aspx
Click here to see a video of Twist and Hwang at the groundbreaking: http://youtu.be/cH9nU3sgc40