For the first time, all five recipients of the annual Patients of Courage: Triumph Over Adversity awards are breast reconstruction patients. These patients will receive their awards from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and Mentor Worldwide LLC.
In celebration of the first annual Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day USA, this year’s awards recognize breast cancer patients who have undergone breast reconstruction and use their experiences to help other women facing breast cancer and mastectomy. The awards will be presented during Plastic Surgery The Meeting, ASPS’ annual scientific conference, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans on October 26.
The Plastic Surgery Foundation, with the support of Mentor, is donating $5,000 to five nonprofit organizations to be named by each of the Patients of Courage.
Meet the 2012 Patients of Courage honorees:
Danielle Beverly of Buford, Georgia
There is no good time to get cancer, but there are some times that are particularly bad. Danielle Beverly was just 3 weeks away from giving birth to her first baby when she learned she had breast cancer–for the third time. Well, Beverly survived to be a great mom and, as the wife of a former NFL player, she’s leveraging her position to help other women fighting breast cancer. The Eric R. Beverly Family Foundation takes care of the economic and social needs of families of uninsured or underinsured breast cancer patients. The foundation assists with treatment-related costs like co-pays, prescriptions, transportation, and child care.
Gina Maisano of Oyster Bay, New York
With a poor prognosis, New Yorker Gina Maisano was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer just 3 days before 9/11. She actually saw one of the planes fly over her head. In the days that followed, Maisano watched what happened to the Twin Towers and said, "Those people never had a chance to fight, but I do." The devastation of her diagnosis turned to determination. She authored The No Surrender Battlefield Guide to Fighting and Surviving Breast Cancer. This book, accompanied by her new online support forum and comprehensive Web site, provide answers to questions that newly diagnosed women might have. Maisano formed a nonprofit known as The No Surrender Breast Cancer Foundation, which now runs the online resource NoSurrenderBreastCancerHelp.org.
More recently, she wrote her second book: Intimacy After Breast Cancer; Dealing with Your Body, Your Relationships and Sex. In it, she takes a close look at sexuality and intimacy as breast cancer survivors shift their focus from battling for their lives to preparing for their future.
Dora Arias of Mountainside, New Jersey
Overwhelmed with fear and consumed by darkness, Dora Arias fought breast cancer at age 39. It was a battle hard won, but in the fight she developed a passion to help other women with breast cancer. In particular, women who didn’t have the same support she did. Fluent in both Spanish and English, Dora launched the nonprofit Curemonos, which means healing together. Now in its third year, the organization reaches out to medically underserved women who experience more difficulty due to financial instability, language barriers, and cultural differences. Arias was also named one of the Models of Courage for Ford’s Warriors in Pink Program.
Beth Borden-Goodman of Decatur, Georgia
"I’m not afraid of cancer. Cancer should be afraid of me." Beth Borden-Goodman has an alter ego–The Premiere Pink Diva–a joyful, confident conqueror who inspires the same. Beth is the former president of the Atlanta chapter of The Sisters Network, an African American breast cancer support organization. Her creative fund-raising efforts, such as Pretty in Pink Breast Cancer Makeovers, have garnered publicity for breast cancer awareness through local and national print and television media.
Kim Sport of New Orleans
Imagine being told you have breast cancer not once, not twice, but three times. It happened to Kim Sport, but she decided to fight. This petite but very tough lawyer from Louisiana resurrected an often-overlooked law on the books that can benefit all breast reconstruction patients in the state of Louisiana and founded the charity aptly named Breastoration. It’s a philanthropic partnership to assist and educate women contemplating surgical options following a diagnosis of breast cancer. A program of the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans, Breastoration provides educational resources to empower women nationwide at risk for, or diagnosed with, breast cancer.