The highlight of the annual Breast Cancer Alliance luncheon has long been our Models of Inspiration show. Honoring the women and men who have undergone treatment and/or are living with metastatic breast cancer is a joyous and heartwarming moment.
To view the 2020 Models of Inspiration video, click here
If you would like to recognize a Model of Inspiration, please send us an email.
I received a routine mammogram at age 51 in early 2014, but this test discovered an unusual lump in my right breast, and the doctor recommended a follow-up sonogram. Things were initially vague but spiraled quickly: the sonogram images weren’t clear, a biopsy showed abnormal cells, and more invasive tests and extractions were needed to assess the cells. Two weeks later, a month after the initial discovery, and after a wonderful college tour with my middle son, the phone rang while I was at a family dinner. It was the doctor: I had DCIS. He told me that my margins weren’t clear, testing would be needed, and I would likely need a mastectomy. The bluntness was shocking and my husband immediately called a friend who was married to a doctor at Memorial Sloan Kettering – luckily, their response was quick, thoughtful, and caring. I flew to New York City and, after additional biopsies, the doctors told me I wouldn’t need a mastectomy after all. My family, friends, doctors, and other survivors I knew supported me through a lumpectomy and 5 weeks of radiation. I embraced running as a passion and outlet, and six years later am cancer-free – now touring those same colleges with my youngest son, and even stronger. ~ Meg Russell tribute to Melissa Rubel
My mother, Audie Bayer, was 70 when she was diagnosed with DCIS. She describes herself as very lucky. Treated in Asheville, N.C., she had a lumpectomy, followed by 6 weeks of radiation, and then tamoxifen for several years. She then became involved in building Asheville's new Cancer Center, where all cancer services for the region are under one roof. Because she did no have to undergo chemotherapy, she trained and then volunteered in the chemotherapy department of her new center, with her little white dog, Charlie. He sat on chemo patients' laps during their chemo treatment and took away some of their stress. Mom is kind to everyone she meets and in her interactions in the chemo department, she made lasting relationships and helped so many people who needed support and guidance. Now 83 years old, my mom is my "inspiration for hope" in the true sense of that phrase. So so very proud of her. ~ Jill Ciporin
Lindsay Frederick, fitness enthusiast, stunt double and mother of three was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 40. She attacked the disease with the same bravery, fighter mentality and resilience she's embodied since we met and after 16 rounds of chemo and a double mastectomy, Lindsays body is now cancer free. Lindsay "put on her boxing gloves" to fight her battle and while telling friends and family, "Don’t you worry about me, I’ve got 3 babies and an incredible husband to fight for. I've got this, now go get YOURSELF checked.” Lindsay is and will always be my model of inspiration. ~ Lauren Schweibold
Karen Dillon was diagnosed in November 2019 with invasive lobular Stage 2B breast cancer and also tested positive for BRCA2. She was 53 years old.
Karen Mincio: Having celebrated my 60th birthday the previous summer, in February 2006 I went for my annual mammogram which I consciously scheduled yearly since I turned 50. Cancer, but not breast, was part of my family history and I smugly believed nursing four children afforded me extra protection even though I had been prescribed Prempro and other similar drugs for early menopause and had dense breasts.
Tiffany A. Traina is an oncologist in New York, New York and is affiliated with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is an amazing center of knowledge of the latest protocols for those of us with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. My hero! ~ Julie Tulipane
I would like to honor Corinne Menn who is not only a survivor herself, but her fierce dedication, unconditional devotion and services to support breast cancer patients is not only generous but inspirational.” ~Tomo Smith
As a cancer survivor, physician, advocate and dear friend, Dr. Menn offers warmth, support and guidance to patients and friends alike. Lisa McDonald
Sandra is my sister, my friend, my hero. Warrior, mother, daughter, wife-she can do hard things. Claire Carley
In November 2019, my sister, Karen Dillon received a phone call that she had invasive lobular breast cancer. She was 53, and in the past 25 years has lived an amazing lifestyle, healthy eating, excellent physical shape, an accomplished yoga instructor leading many of us through physical and spiritual cleanses. Over the next few months, Karens days were filled with numerous doctor appointments, multiple surgeries and her recovery which overlapped with the beginning of Covid. During this time, she continued to give back, setting up zoom meditations and yoga to help those in isolation and needing connection. She continues to be available to listen to anyone needing support emotionally or spiritually. She is a true inspiration as a wife mother daughter sister teacher and especially a friend! We love you Karen! MaryJane Donohue
In honor of our friend, Jennifer Dreilinger. Her strength and passion for this very important cause is inspiring. With love, Deborah Goldman & family
Judith Pinals in honor of Michelle Abadir
Sandra Caruso in honor of Graziella Costa
Judy Higgins in honor of Barbara Epifanio
Jane Julius in honor of Amy Frolick
Courtney Combe in honor of Reshma Gopaldas
Stacey Fromowitz in honor of Robyn Jones
Trish Shannon in honor of Patty "Steele" Kushner
Amy Rosenthal in honor of Julie Ruby