Ten northeastern Pennsylvania residents, including a Lycoming County resident, recently shared their personal experiences with breast cancer as a way to inspire others who are facing the disease. Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) has collected their stories and photos for the company's 14th annual "Gallery of Hope."
Created by BCNEPA in 2000, the Gallery of Hope is a traveling display designed to educate the public about the importance of early detection and treatment in the fight against breast cancer.
Beginning this month, the 2014 Gallery is available to exhibit throughout northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.
Lycoming County honoree Joann Kay, of Williamsport, was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in 1991. After a lumpectomy and radiation, she moved forward with her life, eventually becoming the executive director of the Lycoming County United Way and the Pennsylvania College of Technology Foundation.
Then, in 2008, Joann's regular mammogram again detected breast cancer. This time, her Stage 2 diagnosis was treated with a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Throughout the treatment process, Kay continued working and maintained her volunteer roles on the boards of directors of the YWCA of Northcentral PA and the West Branch Drug & Alcohol Abuse Commission, both organizations with which she is still active.
Currently, she is the Veterans Affairs certifying official at Pennsylvania College of Technology, where she assists veteran and military students undergoing the transition to academic life.
In addition to Kay, the 2014 Gallery of Hope recognizes:
Marianne Burke, of Archbald, Lackawanna County, a retired nurse, grandmother of three, and past Board member for the local American Cancer Society chapter.
Barbara Connolly, of Scranton, Lackawanna County, a mother of five, artist, and community volunteer who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29.
Susan Generose, of Hazle Township, Luzerne County, a mother of two who continued working full-time as a clinical dietitian and diabetes care coordinator throughout her treatment.
Lynn Harrison, of Stroudsburg, Monroe County, an administrative assistant, tax collector, and grandmother of three who enjoys golfing in charity tournaments.
Maria Jiunta Heck, of West Pittston, Luzerne County, a business owner and mother of three who wrote about her breast cancer experience in a weekly newspaper column.
Judy Lachat, of Lock Haven, Clinton County, an employee of Woolrich, Inc., grandmother of three, and two-time cancer survivor.
Jane Longazel, of Jim Thorpe, Carbon County, a residential treatment program director who volunteers regularly as a member of the Lehighton Area Lioness Lions Club.
Linda Patterson, of Wellsboro, Tioga County, a registered nurse, grandmother of six and active volunteer.
Patricia Schucker, of Columbia Cross Roads, Bradford County, a mother of three and surgical technician who provides support to other newly diagnosed women.