The first 2019 meeting of the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund (TDJBCF) Support Group, ”An Evening with Renowned Journalist Andrea Roane,” took place Jan. 16 at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in SW. Approximately 30 guests, almost all of whom were breast cancer survivors, braved the low temperature and icy streets to attend the meeting as they were welcomed with inspirational music by “DJ Hostess with the Mostess,” also known as Regina Blye. The guest speaker was Andrea Roane, who gave an account of her history in education, as an arts advocate for youth and the media. She is perhaps best known as the founder of the “Buddy Check9” program in 1993 which aired for many years on WUSA9. This gave Roane a platform to stress the importance that early detection saves lives and a call for women to find a buddy who could remind them to do a monthly self-examination, and to get an annual mammogram and clinical check-up. She also reminded her audience that breast cancer can affect men as well as women.
Kristen Berset-Harris, Host, WUSA9’s “Great Day Washington” and a two-time breast cancer survivor, moderated a thought-provoking and riveting panel discussion of breast cancer survivors, on “The Fear of Recurrence.” Berset-Harris had a recurrence one month before her wedding. It emerged from this discussion that it was not just the fear of a recurrence with cancer that led some women to delay or put off tests and check-ups. It was also that they were often busy with other commitments, whether work, travel or caring for family.
This gathering followed the Dec. TDJBCF meeting, when the recipient of the Inaugural Evelyn B. Curtis Spirit Award was announced. Evelyn was diagnosed with breast cancer in Feb. 2017 and passed in March 2017. Her business acumen, giving spirit, philanthropic efforts and approach to life endeared her to everyone she knew. When she passed, it was decided that her memory should be honored with an annual award to be given to a nominee who embodied Evelyn’s love of life, generosity and dedication.
So it was with great anticipation that the award’s first recipient was given to Jacqueline Beale, a native Washingtonian and a 16-year, two-time breast cancer conqueror who serves as the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for Hope Connections for Cancer Support in Prince George’s County. Beale has a passion for working as a volunteer with the American Cancer Society (ACS), and for 15 years she has served as co-chair of the Prince George’s County Leadership Council and Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. She is also the Maryland State Ambassador for the ACS Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), Breast Cancer Ambassador for Suburban Hospital, Suburban Hospital Foundation Board Member, co-founder of Ladies With a Purpose Rock, and a member of the Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Development. In 2018, Beale was selected for the coveted ACS CAN State Lead Ambassador of the Year and can frequently be found walking the halls of Congress advocating for funding for cancer research. She has also previously served as a TDJBCF board member, frequently attending support group meetings, including serving as the guest speaker.
Beale was presented with the award, a $200 check and several gifts. To learn more about Evelyn B. Curtis and the award’s eligibility requirements, please visit http://www.tdjbreastcancerfund.org/evelyn-b-curtis-spirit-award.
By Vic Sutton, with contributions from Elisabeth Ann Brown