News at A Glimmer of Hope

Glimmer of Hope - Support for the Most Difficult Diagnosis


December 2020
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Mt. Pleasant gazebo decked out for breast cancer awareness fundraiser


Thursday, October 8, 2020
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New tools are transforming breast cancer treatment in Pittsburgh


Saturday, October 24, 2020
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AHN Cancer Institute Opens Glimmer of Hope Metastatic Breast Cancer Center, Advancing Care for Women with Late-Stage Disease

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Oct. 20, 2020) – When Carol Wiltse was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in 2018, it was a difficult time for her and for her three adult sons. In the weeks that followed, having metastatic cancer became “almost like a full-time job,” she said.

The Beaver Falls woman juggled multiple appointments with different specialists, for scans and infusions and radiation therapy. Even with the help of her sons, it was a lot to keep track of.

For patients like Carol, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cancer Institute has opened the Glimmer of Hope Metastatic Breast Cancer Center, offering patients with advanced breast cancer comprehensive, centralized, coordinated care with special attention to clinical trial options and quality-of-life issues.

Located within the new, state-of-the-art AHN Cancer Institute – Allegheny General, and opened with funding from Pittsburgh nonprofit Glimmer of Hope, the William F. and Lynn D. Gauss Foundation, and other key donors, the Metastatic Breast Cancer Center offers care that revolves entirely around women with late-stage breast cancer, prioritizing their time and their unique needs.

“Women with metastatic breast cancer are more than just patients. They are mothers, daughters, wives, friends, co-workers and employers, and we want to help them to live their lives as normally as possible,” said Christie Hilton, DO, director of the Metastatic Breast Center and medical oncology lead physician for the Breast Cancer Leadership team at the AHN Cancer Institute. “By centralizing her needs into one visit, we can help allay the stress and complexity of having to get to multiple appointments at different locations, and quickly get her back to living her life.”

While breast cancer is curable when detected early, about 30 percent of early-stage breast cancer patients eventually develop Stage IV metastatic cancer, when the disease has spread to other parts of the body. While it is incurable, an increasing number of women survive many years with metastatic cancer, thanks to new treatments.

Carol’s cancer, originally diagnosed in 2006, had spread to her bones and was inoperable. The lump in Carol’s breast is gone, and the cancer in her bones is not growing. She remains on the same treatment for the past three years and is living a full life with metastatic breast cancer.

“We believe women should consider clinical trial options at all stages of their treatment, and in some cases we use technology to tell us about the genetics of a particular tumor, to help us determine which trials might be appropriate for each patient,” Dr. Hilton said. “Our collaboration with Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center allows us to screen patients for clinical trials at either location, increasing the number of options available to patients.”

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Center holds a weekly in-house tumor board dedicated to discussing individual patients, their treatment, and potential eligibility for clinical trials.

Each patient at the Metastatic Breast Cancer Center will be assigned a collaborative nurse who accompanies her to appointments, takes notes, and is available for follow-up questions. Patients may also meet with an integrative medicine specialist who can recommend and arrange services such as acupuncture that can help with symptom management, paid for by funding from Glimmer of Hope.

Patients at the center might also meet with a pharmacist to discuss medication side effects, work with an oncology rehab specialist on strength or balance training, or talk with a behavioral health specialist to address mental health, body image, or intimacy issues.

For Carol, a resource such as the Metastatic Breast Cancer Center would have helped not only her, but her sons, who provided emotional and practical help.

“It’s exciting to have this kind of expertise for metastatic patients, and access to advanced clinical trials right in our own backyard,” Carol said. “Having this resource would have helped not only me but my sons, who provided so much emotional and practical help. I look forward to taking advantage of the new center’s services in the future.”

“I have metastatic breast cancer, but I don’t let it define me,” Carol said. “Every day I wake up and I know I have cancer. And I deal with it, just as people who have diabetes or heart disease deal with their illness every day. I stay focused on the present and don’t let my mind wander somewhere it doesn’t belong.”

“Thanks to medical advances, many patients live for years with metastatic breast cancer,” Dr. Hilton said. “We thank Glimmer of Hope, and all of our donors, for this center that will help metastatic breast cancer patients maintain their quality of life, physically and emotionally.”

About Allegheny Health Network – and the AHN Cancer Institute

Allegheny Health Network, a Highmark Health Company, is a western Pennsylvania-based integrated healthcare system that serves patients from across a five-state region that includes western Pennsylvania and the adjacent regions of Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and New York. The Network’s Cancer Institute employs more than 200 physicians and 500 oncology professionals who provide a complete spectrum of oncology care at 24 affiliated oncology clinics, including access to state-of-the-art technologies and new therapies being explored in hundreds of clinical cancer trials. The Cancer Institute has the only cancer program in the Pittsburgh region accredited as an Integrated Network Cancer Program by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, and its radiation oncology program is the largest in the country accredited by the American Society for Radiation Oncology. AHN Cancer Institute is a Quality Oncology Practice Initiative certified practice, and is accredited by the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer. AHN also has a formal affiliation with the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, one of the nation’s 41 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute, for research, medical education and clinical services.


A Glimmer of Hope, 100 + Men Who Care, Expand Reach of AHN Program Helping Younger Breast Cancer Patients

WEXFORD, Pa.  – Thanks to local philanthropic group 100 + Men Who Care and local breast cancer advocacy organization A Glimmer of Hope, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) is expanding a program that uses integrative medicine techniques to help younger breast cancer patients cope with the disease.

Home for Hope, based at AHN’s Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion, aims to help pre-menopausal women who are diagnosed with breast cancer with coordinated medical services and integrative medical modalities such as acupuncture, massage therapy and nutrition counseling.

Since its inception in 2016, Home for Hope has helped more than 20 young women through their breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and into survivorship. The most recent donation will allow 10 additional patients to enroll. A Glimmer of Hope has donated nearly $100,000 to Home for Hope since 2016.

“Over the past two years, we at A Glimmer of Hope have been fortunate to meet many of the young women involved in Home for Hope and to share in their breast cancer journeys,” A Glimmer of Hope founder Diana Napper said. “They’ve told us that Home for Hope helped them relax, de-stress, and regain a feeling of health, giving them the strength they needed to continue their battles with breast cancer. We are very grateful to 100 + Men Who Care for their support, which will help us reach more young women with this valuable program.”

“We are delighted to support A Glimmer of Hope and AHN’s Home for Hope in this important mission,” said Rick Malik, president of 100 + Men Who Care. “Many of us have been touched by breast cancer through our wives, mothers, sisters and friends, and we know it is a very difficult journey. We are happy to help younger women cope with their diagnosis and treatment as they move toward survivorship.”

100 + Men Who Care member Josh Adamek nominated A Glimmer of Hope for the donation and made a substantial contribution toward the $10,000 goal.

The pilot is open to pre-menopausal breast cancer patients who are being treated at Allegheny Health Network and are referred by their physician.

“We are grateful to A Glimmer of Hope and 100 + Men Who Care for their contribution to Home for Hope,” said David Parda, MD, Chair, AHN Cancer Institute. “Home for Hope has been a great benefit to our young breast cancer patients, and exemplifies the individualized, multidisciplinary, compassionate care offered at AHN Cancer Institute.”

In addition to 100 + Men Who Care, funding for Home for Hope is provided by Pittsburgh Pirates Pitch for Hope, an event that lets women learn baseball fundamentals from Pirates’ coaches, and donations from rue21, The Pittsburgh Pirates, Pirates Charities, AHN, Highmark, Diehl Automotive Group, The Dimond Family, Cris, Ralene and Wyatt DeBord; Moe’s Southwest Grill Pittsburgh, Chick-Fil-A  Pittsburgh, Chelsea Collective, Oxford Athletic Club and the Zumba Team of Oxford Athletic Club, North Allegheny High School, CBS Radio, Walnut Grill and Schultheis Brothers.


​A Glimmer of Hope Foundation and Partners Raise Money for Magee Breast Cancer Initiatives

3/20/2017

PITTSBURGH, March 20, 2017 – Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC recently received a donation of nearly $160,000 from A Glimmer of Hope, a Pittsburgh-based breast cancer foundation. This amount is added to the more than $2 million A Glimmer of Hope already has donated to Magee’s breast cancer services since 1999.

“Magee is grateful for nearly two decades of support from A Glimmer of Hope,” said Judy Herstine, administrator of the women’s cancer program at Magee. “This organization has provided invaluable support for our breast cancer patients by funding new technology, patient navigators and research among other initiatives.”

The donated funds were raised at numerous events benefitting A Glimmer of Hope. The 16th annual Bid for Hope gala, hosted in October 2016 by Julie and Alan Faneca and Risalyn and DeAngelo Williams, raised roughly $80,000 for the foundation. The event brings together the best of the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans for an evening in support of breast cancer research.

The 7th annual Clays for a Cure was hosted in September 2016 at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort clay course by Crystal Hanlon, Home Depot Northern Division president, and Dave Musen, Home Depot Ohio Valley regional vice president, with support from many Home Depot associates. The friendly two-day competition raised roughly $70,000 for A Glimmer of Hope.

Rounding out the donation is a generous $10,000 grant from PNC to support breast cancer screenings for women in need. Beginning in May, transportation will be provided to bring women to their mammography screenings at Magee, and following their appointment, they will receive healthy recipe suggestions and a Giant Eagle gift card.

With more supporters than ever before, Diana Napper, founder and president of A Glimmer of Hope, is optimistic about the organization’s future and the initiatives it will support.

“Sponsors, donors and friends have helped us advance care for all women, specifically young women with a premenopausal breast cancer diagnosis,” Napper said. “We are proud to continuously support these women, their families and Magee’s breast cancer programs and research.”

For more information about breast cancer services, please visit the Magee website.


Allegheny Health Network, Glimmer of Hope, Expand Outreach to Younger Breast Cancer Patients

WEXFORD, PA. (PRWEB) 

Local breast cancer advocacy organization Glimmer of Hope is providing additional funding for an Allegheny Health Network (AHN) program that uses integrative medicine techniques to help younger breast cancer patients cope with the disease and minimize any stressors that may hinder their recovery.

Glimmer of Hope has now provided a total of $85,302 to the Integrated Breast Oncology Pilot for Pre-Menopausal Women, based at AHN’s Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion, allowing more women to take advantage of the program. The pilot aims to help younger women diagnosed with breast cancer with coordinated medical services and integrative medical modalities such as acupuncture, massage therapy and nutrition counseling.

“All of us at Glimmer of Hope have been delighted to hear how patients are benefiting from this program, and how well it addresses the needs of younger women with breast cancer,” Glimmer of Hope founder Diana Napper said. “They face a number of challenges unique to their age group, as they are diagnosed at a time when they may be caring for young children, or busy launching their careers.”

AHN breast surgeon Shivani Duggal, DO, who oversees the program along with gastroenterologist Sandra El-Hachem, MD, and breast surgeon Mary Beth Malay, MD, said the doctors have received very positive feedback from the 10 patients involved in the initial pilot.

“Our patients say the program has been extremely beneficial, helping them reduce pain, discomfort and stress,” Dr. Duggal said. “Patients particularly enjoy the massage therapy and nutrition counseling, and those who participated in acupuncture said it was very helpful in reducing the aftereffects of chemotherapy and surgery, such as pain and nausea.”

“The expansion is also important because, unfortunately, we are seeing an increasing number of premenopausal women with advanced breast cancer, Dr. Duggal said. “As their numbers continue to rise, so will the need for the program.”

In addition to integrative medicine services, patients can take advantage of free child care at Austin’s Playroom at the Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion, and if necessary, transportation to appointments via the Glimmer of Hope van or the Uber driver service.

The pilot is open to pre-menopausal breast cancer patients who are being treated at Allegheny Health Network and are referred by their physician.

Rooms at the Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion have been renovated to create a tranquil spa-like private suite with treatment rooms, a waiting area and reception area. It is open to any breast cancer patient for treatment on a fee-for-service basis.

“It’s important for breast cancer patients to keep a positive outlook, keep stress at bay, and eat nutritious foods that will boost their general health and immune system,” Dr. Duggal said. “We are grateful to Glimmer of Hope for making it possible for additional patients to enjoy the benefits of this great program.”

Funding for the program is provided by Pittsburgh Pirates Pitch for Hope, an event that lets women learn baseball fundamentals from Pirates’ coaches, and donations from rue21, The Pittsburgh Pirates, Pirates Charities, AHN, Highmark, Diehl Automotive Group, The Dimond Family, Cris, Ralene and Wyatt DeBord; Moe’s Southwest Grill Pittsburgh, Chick-Fil-A Pittsburgh, Chelsea Collective, Oxford Athletic Club and the Zumba Team of Oxford Athletic Club, North Allegheny High School, CBS Radio, Walnut Grill and Schultheis Brothers.

About A Glimmer of Hope
In 1996 A Glimmer of Hope organization’s founder Diana Napper designed the first Glimmer of Hope pin and began selling them with the proceeds going to breast cancer research. Since that time, the organization has raised over $3 million for breast cancer research.

About Allegheny Health Network
Allegheny Health Network is a western Pennsylvania-based integrated healthcare system that serves patients from across a five state region that includes Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The Network’s Cancer Institute offers a complete spectrum of oncology care, including access to state-of-the-art technologies and new therapies being explored in clinical cancer trials. The Network’s radiation oncology program is the largest in the country and accredited by the American College of Radiology. AHN also has a formal affiliation with the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, one of the nation’s 41 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute, for research, medical education and clinical services.
To schedule an appointment with an AHN oncologist, please call 412.DOCTORS or visit http://www.ahn.org/find-a-doctor.