Breast Cancer Alliance hosts 22nd Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show


Professional models walk the runway wearing Oscar de la Renta. Courtesy of Mrs. Anissa Shannon.

Pink outfits filled the the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich, Connecticut October 26 to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A record-breaking 1,050 men and women gathered to attend the Breast Cancer Alliance’s (BCA) 22nd Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show.
One in eight women will face breast cancer throughout her lifetime, and the disease affects more than 200,000 women in the United States each year, according to Although breast cancer is treatable, doctors consider it a terminal illness. So, the donations from the event go towards research to find a cure.

Seniors and Co-Heads of the Sacred Heart Greenwich Breast Cancer Alliance Club Jackie Shannon ’18 and Megan Doherty ’18 with event Co-Chair Mrs. Hillary Corbin. Courtesy of Mrs. Anissa Shannon.

In 1996, Mary Waterman founded the BCA in Greenwich, Connecticut after doctors diagnosed her with stage four breast cancer. Waterman’s mission was to improve breast cancer patients’ quality of life and survival rates through better prevention and detection, treatment, and cures, according to The numerous events that BCA hosts in Greenwich throughout the year allow them to achieve her goal.
BCA sponsors a Junior Committee so that students can spread awareness throughout their schools. The Junior Committee attends monthly meetings with BCA board members to plan local events and fundraisers. The Co-Heads of Sacred Heart Greenwich’s BCA Club this year are seniors Pau Barbosa, Sophia Brusco, Megan Doherty, Lily Lemkau, and Jackie Shannon. So far, the BCA Club at Sacred Heart raised money through a “civvies day,” when students can donate money to wear non-uniform clothes to school. For their first civvies day October 27, the Sacred Heart BCA club raised $479.
“Although it may not be direct, breast cancer affects everybody. This year, we hope to spread awareness and support the Breast Cancer Alliance in every way we can,” Megan said.
Speakers from BCA, including Executive Director Ms. Yonni Wattenmaker, opened the annual luncheon. The Co-Chairs then introduced the luncheon’s guest speaker, America Broadcasting Company’s Good Morning America news anchor Ms. Amy Robach.
In October 2013, Ms. Robach reluctantly agreed to have her first mammogram shown on live television to raise awareness for breast cancer. One month later, she revealed that she had breast cancer. Guests of the BCA event received a copy of Ms. Robach’s autobiography Better: How I Let Go of Control, Held on to Hope, and Found Joy in my Darkest Hour.
In her discourse, Ms. Robach spoke to the audience about how her battle with cancer impacted her outlook on life. Ms. Robach does not take anything for granted. She encouraged audience members to accept love and live life to the fullest.
“Don’t die until you die,” Ms. Robach said. 
Guest speaker Ms. Amy Robach shares her journey with breast cancer with the audience. Courtesy of Mrs. Anissa Shannon.

Sacred Heart mother and breast cancer survivor Mrs. Sandra Caruso (P’18, P’20, P’23) attended Thursday’s event. Mrs. Caruso had the chance to meet Ms. Robach before the program started.
“She inspires me, and so many other breast cancer survivors, in that she continually pays it forward and shares her experience,” Mrs. Caruso said. “Education is key in helping all women take their health seriously.”
Breast cancer survivor and Co-Chair of the event Mrs. Hillary Corbin spoke Thursday afternoon. Mrs. Corbin, a mother of three daughters, spoke about her own experience with breast cancer.
“There have been countless iterations of the speech in my head over the last year; to tell you I have no idea how it happened, but it did. To tell you it was never going to be me, but it was. To think I would never be someone attending this luncheon, but I am,” Mrs. Corbin said. “So, I will work to change the landscape, with your help. To raise awareness, to be your roadmap, to fight this disease, to find a cure. To fulfill a promise to my three girls, that maybe one day, a germ like mine doesn’t exist.”
Mrs. Caruso reiterates Mrs. Corbin’s statement, emphasizing the importance of the events the BCA hosts.
“The only way to find meaningful treatments and potentially a cure, is through scientific research. Research requires extensive funding, which government grants do not adequately cover. The money raised at the BCA luncheon goes towards grants for cutting edge research right in our community,” Mrs. Caruso said.
Siblings Ms. Heather Black and Mr. Taylor Black present the Deborah G. Black Memorial Research Fund in honor of their mother. Courtesy of Mrs. Anissa Shannon.

Siblings Mr. Taylor Black and Ms. Heather Black recently lost their mother to breast cancer. Their mother, Mrs. Deborah G. Black, was an active member of BCA and served as president for the 2011-2012 terms and a member of the Board of Directors. The pair presented the Deborah G. Black Memorial Research Fund in honor of their mother. This fund will finance research grants in her name every year.
The event included both a silent and live auction and two fashion shows. In the first fashion show, local breast cancer survivors modeled outfits from Richards, a designer clothing store in Greenwich. Later, professional models walked the runway, wearing Oscar de la Renta’s upcoming spring line.
In an interview with Greenwich Time, Co-Chair Ms. Jordan Rhodes talked about the organization’s successes in raising awareness.
“Every day we get closer to finding a cure,” Ms. Rhodes said, according to “In its 22 years of existence, the BCA has been able to award over $22 million to breast cancer research and education.”
– Pau Barbosa, Content Editor and Jackie Shannon, Social Media Editor and Co-Video Editor