Tuesday, August 9, 2022



The NY Cancer Resource Alliance was founded shortly after 9/11 (2001) as a unifying conduit between all advocates and advocacy groups. The group's core members are partner-volunteers whose assets are self-funded and driven by a common goal of supporting all cancer advocates through research, clinical services or educational efforts. Under the common spirit of collaboration and brainstorming, NYCRA actively connects with all community leaders to offer collected resources to cancer patients, survivors and all those seeking current information about cancer care.  

This year, NYCRA "hits the national stage" by connecting with all cancer orgs, specifically women-related cancers as part of their latest collective plan to join hands and mobilize advocacy functions. The NYCRA website brandishes the motto: "Only Together Can We Truly Grow"- a statement gifted to the once startup group by a role model in  breast cancer advocacy, Mrs. Jennifer Hunt (and a fundraiser for the now defunct LI2DAY). This philosophy rings true even more with this new outreach program.

Mr. Joe Cappello, executive founder of the "Are You Dense?" Foundation aligned with NYCRA director Dr. Lennard Gettz to initiate this nationwide outreach effort to all cancer organizations to form a collective resource for all cancer survivors, patients and their families.  Additional support of this program comes from top members of the Women's Diagnostic Network (an IPHA branch) Dr. Roberta Kline and Dr. Noelle Cutter- who themselves forged an alliance with a growing list of health professionals and cancer advocacy groups.

8/4 - This first meeting of the minds was co-hosted by Mr. Cappello who coordinated with leaders from GILDA'S CLUB WESTCHESTER, a community organization for people with cancer, their families and friends. Founded and inspired by the late Gilda Radner and Gene Wilder, the org's local chapters provide meeting places where those who have cancer, their families, and friends can join with others to build emotional and social support as a supplement to medical care.   Gilda's Club Executive Director Jennifer Scully and Dir. of Development Deborah August were the guests of honor, with clinical guest, Dr. Robert Bard (cancer diagnostic specialist from NYC) and moderated by Lennard Gettz.  This special assembly of cancer advocates and clinical leaders proved to be an ideal collaborative group, sharing and exploring ideas under the spirit of finding new solutions in the name of awareness and research support. "We look forward to partnering with the NYCRA and Are You Dense Foundation.  This relationship has tremendous potential to further our reach, providing resources, education and support to so many individuals impacted by cancer,” stated Ms. Scully.

Planning this program was originally earmarked for the spring of 2019. As with most get-togethers, the Covid-19 Pandemic pushed the timetable to dates with (hopefully) reduced and safer surge rates, until eventually, the trend of virtual video conferencing became the ultimate solution for immediate programming. "As the battle against cancer continues, I am proud to see the spirit of foundations and medical crusaders like Dr. Bard maintain their momentum as far as their respective commitments", says Dr. Cutter. "We're actually seeing a major uptick in educational programs, grant-funded research and innovative resources from the public sector, and thanks to digital conferencing, sharing solutions has become a borderless opportunity!"

Several connective elements that brought these groups together included an editorial project published in the Fall 2021 issue by NYCRA NEWS called "UNDERDIAGNOSED WOMEN".  This feature spotlighted Gilda Radner's story, thanks largely to her niece, Meryl Goldsmith- who incidentally is the executive producer of the documentary film "Love, Gilda".  Mr. Cappello supported the production of this project and contributed the story of his late wife, Nancy Cappello as another example of being underdiagnosed.  Nancy died of treatment complications from late stage breast cancer un-detected by mammography due to the concealment of dense breast tissue.

A prominent name in cancer care turned out to be a familiar common ground to everyone in the room. DR. BARRY BOYD, a medical oncologist with the Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Center in Greenwich was the managing oncologist for both Gilda Radner and Nancy Cappello.  He was also awarded the 2022 Gilda's Club inaugural Spirit of Excellence in Oncology Award. In addition, Dr. Boyd has been a respected educational resource for NYCRA and a clinical colleague of Dr. Bard.

As the first of many, the format of this virtual connection proved highly promising for building bridges between groups, exploring project collaboration and sharing resources.  Dr. Bard drove his concept of expanding cancer education in all advocacy groups with a "PRO-SUMER" approach to cancer education.  With a massive clinical network, he offered recruiting more medical experts to contribute as speakers or publishers of current information direct from the field. "Sharing access to cancer specialists, people can (finally) learn about the latest technologies and modalities not usually available to them from their general physician or a standard Google search", says Dr. Bard. "Together, we can help build up that educational piece to empower members of cancer organizations like Gilda's Club Westchester with easier access to this level of resource to help the many recently diagnosed."

For over 30 years, Dr. Bard remains majorly active in support of all cancer support groups. He has presented in countless medical seminars and recently published a massive catalog of his updated educational articles and online videos about cancer care related topics.  Through this meeting, Dr. Bard generously offered GILDA'S CLUB WESTCHESTER complete and unlimited access to the re-use of his entire educational library of work (see MedicalScanNews). 

"On occasion, we would try to connect with other groups but for whatever reason, this year seems to be a connective year for us all. Perhaps it's the unique effect of the ZOOM platform-- it seems ideal for collaboration and 'face-time' discussions, paving more synergistic relationships from just about anywhere and anytime.  Unlike all the limitations and pressures of the pre-covid style meetings (of driving to someone's conference room)... that was for the birds! I have several dozen organizations scheduled this month and removing all the stress of physical meetings allow us all to be our better selves", says Joe Cappello.  

Since the Covid-19 Pandemic, NYCRA'S VIRTUAL NETWORK known as 'POWERMEETS' has supported various types of online conferences, educational courses and interactive webinars with attendees and panel speakers from across the U.S. The national collaborative outreach piloted by Joe Cappello, Dr. Noelle Cutter and friends- aims to unite leaders to share resources and co-promote public events and activities to any and all cancer-related initiatives throughout underserved communities.  

(Play Video-R) The NY Cancer Resource Alliance gives loving tribute to Dr. Nancy Cappello, co-founder of "Are You Dense" and chief crusader of the mission to bring change to the protocols and standards of Early Detection.   Her organization embarked in a global advocacy project to win legislation for dense breast scanning and to bring awareness to the need for better technologies and imaging interpretation. Today, her loving husband Joe continues her unending fight to save more lives through awareness, advocacy and her crusade for change.  (Also see below to read her full story in our ORG SPOTLIGHT section)

UPCOMING EVENTS from Gilda's Club Westchester

September 19th: Annual Golf & Tennis/Pickle Ball outing
Sunningdale Country Club - Scarsdale, NY

There are also options to attend just the lunch which includes a health speaker and vendor boutique or to attend just the cocktail hour, dinner & program.

October 23rd:
Annual Fitfest: 5K walk or run and 1 mile dog walk.
Glen Island Park, New Rochelle, NY 
This is a wonderful opportunity to get family and friends involved to walk, donate and help fundraise.

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