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KCI honors inspirational individuals and organizations-The Geri Lester Courage Awards

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An individual whose battle with breast cancer has been an inspiration to family, friends and community.

Geri Lester was one of the leaders of the Komen Detroit Race for the Cure® since its 1992 inception, and was integral to the development of the Heroes of Breast Cancer Program. Geri dedicated herself to bringing supportive and educational services to the metropolitan Detroit cancer community. She was a founding member of Gilda’s Club of Metro Detroit. A 2002 Heroes of Breast Cancer Courage awardee, Geri always saw the good in others, the gifts of everyday living and the hope in every situation. Geri lost her 20-year battle to breast cancer in May 2003, but her brave and cheerful attitude in the face of her disease remains an inspiration to us all.

In Memory: Farida Hatem, formerly of Dearborn, ACCESS: Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services

Farida Hatem

Farida Hatem carried messages about her own disease with tremendous grace, leaving a legacy of hope in a community hard hit by breast cancer.

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of our sister Farida Hatem, a hero who made a difference in people’s lives. She was a woman of great courage and perseverance. Her memorable last words to us were: “I am going to get better and come back to ACCESS to do the work I use to do”. We promise Farida we will honor her by continuing the tradition of cancer education, early detection, and treatment at ACCESS Community Health & Research Center. May Farida rest in peace and she will always be remembered as one of our Cancer prevention heroes.“ – Adnan Hammad, Ph.D., Senior Director, ACCESS Community Health & Research Center

Accepting the award for the late Farida Hatem were her family and friends at ACCESS

In Honor: Sandy Schwartz, Co-Founder, Cancer Thrivers Network for Jewish Women

Sandy Schwartz

With strength and dignity, Sandy Schwartz has been a motivating force who has worked to bring comfort and understanding to women in metropolitan Detroit’s Jewish community, where breast cancer can take a great toll.

“I am most honored to receive the Geri Lester Courage Award. Geri and I worked together on many projects and she was a genuine role model for me and for all who had the privilege to know her. I think she would agree that courage is simply moving forward in the face of a cancer diagnosis by putting one foot in front of the other every day, and making it the best day that it can be. So, when I heard that I had received an award created in Geri's memory, I was both delighted and overwhelmed. In that brief phone call, my mind was flooded with memories of my feelings at the time of diagnosis, going back 34 years. I have never felt courageous, but I am still very proud to join the roster of the Karmanos Heroes of Breast Cancer, and to have the opportunity to remember and celebrate Geri Lester.” – Sandy Schwartz

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