State Honors Breast Cancer SurvivorsWednesday, November 19, 2008 | 11:41 am
First Lady Andrea Conte and 33 State Departments Recognize Employee Survivors
NASHVILLE— In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, First Lady Andrea Conte joined officials from across state government today to pay tribute to Tennessee’s state workers who have survived breast cancer.
Commissioners and designees from 33 state departments honored 89 state employees at the event today at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville. Neil Orne with WKRN-TV emceed the event. Vicki Yates with News Channel 5 and Jennifer Johnson with WSMV-TV were on hand to read the names of the honorees as they accepted a pink rose and certificate from the First Lady and the commissioner or representative from their state department.
“I am pleased to be here today to recognize these survivors who come to work despite the emotional and physical rigors of dealing with this disease,” said Conte. “The men and women honored here today are true heroes.”
This fifth annual event created by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development was designed in 2004 to honor the department’s own breast cancer survivors during the month of October, recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Commissioner James Neeley expanded the event in subsequent years to include all state departments.
“I too am a cancer survivor and I understand the challenges one faces when diagnosed with such a heartbreaking disease," said Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley. "I am proud to assist in honoring these workers and recognize the team spirit of all state departments represented here today.”
The event began with an idea from the International Association of Workforce Professionals (IAWP), a professional organization of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Sponsors include IAWP, Tennessee Breast Cancer Coalition, the American Cancer Society, St Thomas-Baptist Health Services, Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Canconnect.org, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Witness Project, ABC Cool Springs, Nashville General Hospital, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation, Gilda’s Club, Employment Security Credit Union, AFL-CIO, National Cancer Institute, Sisters’ Network, Inc, and Cascades Flowers of Sparta. Health care sponsors set up displays at the event to help educate the family members and co-workers of the survivors.
The Tennessee Department of Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program provides clinical breast exams, mammograms and Pap tests for eligible Tennessee women free of charge. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in women in the United States. In Tennessee more than 3,800 cases are found annually. More information about breast cancer awareness, prevention and early detection can be found at www.tennessee.gov/health.