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KCI honors inspirational individuals and organizations

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Since 1995, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute has recognized individuals, corporations and organizations for their demonstrated leadership in raising awareness of breast cancer through education, research and the promotion of early detection, treatment and stories of survivorship. Continuing this tradition and to celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Karmanos Cancer Institute honored 12 awardees at its 17th Annual Heroes of Breast Cancer Awards on Oct. 11. More than 200 guests attended the event at the Max M. Fisher Music Center. Emmy Award-winning television personality Lila Lazarus, served as emcee.

"At the Karmanos Cancer Institute, research is the foundation of everything we do and the surest path to eradicate all cancers," said Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO, Karmanos Cancer Institute. "Although we work year-round to advance treatments for all cancers, this month we recognize those who continue to help us in the fight against breast cancer – whether it’s advancing science or rallying co-workers, friends and community to be a part of something greater than all of us. Together, we are making progress and saving lives. We congratulate this year's honorees and ask for everyone's continued support as we work to end this disease."

Dr, Bepler also paid tribute to the late Angelika Burger, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology and Oncology for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and director of the Translational Research Laboratory at Karmanos Cancer Institute. A gifted researcher, Dr. Burger was the recipient of the 2009 Heroes of Breast Cancer Scientific Distinction Award. Dr. Burger was being treated for a rare ear cancer as she continued her research in the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of the disease. After a courageous battle, she passed away in May 2011.

"It's a privilege to honor this year's Heroes awardees and to recognize the 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States," said Maureen Keenan Meldrum, director, Breast Cancer Special Programs at Karmanos and chair of the Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure®. "There is no doubt, great progress has been made. But as long as there are women and men being diagnosed with late-stage disease due to lack of awareness, insurance or other resources, access to care or fear, our work is not done. We must do all we can to bridge the gap to help save lives. We invite everyone to join us and help defeat this disease."

Following is a list of the Karmanos Cancer Institute’s 2011 Heroes of Breast Cancer Awardees:

Leadership Awards

Organization: Wayne State University

Individual: Nick Smither

Media Award

Patricia A. Ellis

Philanthropy Awards

Organization: Plymouth Whalers

Individual: Carol Richie

Community Service Awards

Organization: Binson's Home Health Centers, Inc.

Individual: Sean C. Keenan

In Memory: Jill Smith

Compassionate Caregiver Award

Elizabeth Min Hui Kim, M.D.

The Geri Lester Courage Awards

In Memory: Farida Hatem

In Honor: Sandy Schwartz

Dr. Michael J. Brennan Scientific Distinction Award

Peter J. Littrup, M.D.

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