Raises Funds for  Breast Cancer Programs, Research at Levine Cancer Institute

Charlotte, N.C.– Breast cancer will affect one in eight US women in their lifetime, and it is the second most common form of cancer for women. On Friday, May 12, over 250 people gathered at the Ritz Carlton in Uptown Charlotte to raise funds and awareness for local breast cancer programs and research. The first annual Speak PINK, sponsored by Charlotte Radiology and hosted by Carolinas HealthCare Foundation, featured a luncheon, and special presentations from breast cancer survivors and physicians.

The inaugural event, which raised more than $100,000, was established to benefit the Carolinas Breast Cancer Fund at the Foundation. This fund supports breakthrough breast cancer research conducted by physicians and scientists at Levine Cancer Institute. In addition, it provides funding for Project PINK, a program in partnership with Charlotte Radiology that offers accessible breast cancer screenings for lower income women.

The highlight of Speak PINK was a casual conversation with Carolina Panthers Tight End Greg Olsen and his mom, Susan Olsen – a 17-year breast cancer survivor. Moira Quinn, COO of Charlotte Center City Partners (and a breast cancer survivor) facilitated the conversation.

Susan Olsen referred to her breast cancer as a “bump in the road.”

“We tried to have the most normal life possible,” she said of living with her diagnosis and treatment, “and the boys and my husband were my rock.”

“There’s a reason my mom is still here 17 years later,” Greg Olsen added. “There’s a reason there are survivors scattered throughout this room. That hasn’t always been the case. That’s because of advances made by doctors and researchers and philanthropists who have given of their time, energy, and resources. These events are what spearhead these doctors for doing incredible things.”

Physicians at Levine Cancer Institute, such as Dr. Lejla Hadzikadic-Gusic, highlighted the fact that philanthropy is the fuel that is helping them expand their programs and resources. Dr. Hadzikadic-Gusic, who specializes in treating breast cancer patients who are under the age of 40, spoke during the event, and emphasized early detection and access to screenings. She also discussed the impact of community support, noting, “Funding from events like Speak PINK really allows us to take things above and beyond for our patients.”

For more information about Speak PINK, please visit www.givecarolinas.org/speakpink