More than a Pink Ribbon Awards Luncheon

2019 More Than A Pink Ribbon Award Winners: WTVR Buddy Check 6 (Stephen Hayes and Reba Hollingsworth) – Community Champion; Dr. George Kynasi – Lifetime Achievement in Health Care; and The Honorable Kirk Cox – Legislative Impact

On Tuesday, October 1st, VBCF kicked-off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a celebration of accomplishments in breast cancer education and advocacy right here in Virginia at our inaugural More than a Pink Ribbon Awards luncheon presented by Genomic Health held at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. 

We were honored to present the Sherry Kohlenberg Lifetime Achievement in Healthcare Award to Dr. George Knaysi, Jr., the Community Champion Award to WTVR Buddy Check 6, and the Legislative Impact Award to The Honorable Kirk Cox.

Dr. George Knaysi, Jr. established a practice in Richmond, which became known as the Richmond Surgical Group in 1973. From the beginning, he focused primarily on surgical and medical diseases of the breast, which eventually became his sole area of endeavor. His practice was on the cutting edge of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. When he retired in 2014, he had performed more than 20,000 operations, caring for thousands of women and men.

Dr. Kynasi gave a fascinating overview of changes in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer since the1960s.

“We’ve moved from breast cancer being treated primarily with surgery, to it being a medically managed disease where surgeons play a smaller role. We now know that not all breast cancer is the same, and there are so many more options available for treatment. Looking to the future, I think promising new drug regimens and immunotherapy may be important new advances,” said Knaysi.

Buddy Check 6 is a monthly segment that airs on WTVR 6 on the 6th of each month. These segments focus on breast cancer and educate the public and encourage central Virginians to be their own breast health advocates. The stories inform viewers about the latest medicines and technology in the efforts to end breast cancer. They also connect patients with resources, support groups, and other survivors. 

Buddy Check 6 reports began airing 19 years ago on CBS 6 when anchor Stephanie Rochon began telling these impactful stories. Stephanie’s mother was a breast cancer survivor, and this connection gave Stephanie a passion for this reporting. Unfortunately, Stephanie lost her battle with cancer in 2015, but her work carries on. Anchor Reba Hollingsworth has the privilege of continuing Stephanie’s legacy. 

“What we do at Buddy Check 6 matches up so well with what VBCF does. We can all work together to get the message out about breast cancer,” said Stephen Hayes, WTVR 6’s General Manager.

“Stephanie was not only my colleague; she was my best friend. I know she would be smiling right now! I’m wearing her breast cancer awareness pin,” added Hollingsworth.

Speaker Kirk Cox has represented the 66th District in the Virginia House of Delegates since 1989. In 2018, he was elected as Speaker of the House and became the first Speaker in state history from Colonial Heights. He is also the first Speaker to represent a portion of Chesterfield County since the 1800s, and the first Speaker whose profession was that of a public school teacher.

In 2000, Speaker Cox sponsored legislation to create the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation pink ribbon license plate in Virginia. Virginia was the second state, after Illinois, to have a breast cancer awareness plate. There are more than 9,000 plates on the road today, and it has raised more than $1.7 million to support VBCF’s mission and programs. We are so fortunate to have this source of funding to continue and expand our work each year.

“Sponsoring a piece of legislation that impacts so many people’s lives is great. Our charge is to keep pushing. We’ve had great progress, and we will eradicate this disease,” said Speaker Cox.

We are so excited at the success of this inaugural event and are thankful for the support of our sponsors: Genomic Health (Presenting Sponsor); Virginia Cancer Institue (Champion Sponsor); H. W. Blankenship & Sons, Inc.; Ms. Stuart Laughon; Myriad; Pfizer – (Ambassadors); HCA Virginia’s Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute Virginia Physicians for Women – (Friends); and Dominion Energy; Genworth; Orthopedic Physical Therapy Inc.; PhRMA; Richmond Surgical; and Margaret Wade Real Estate – (Supporters). 

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and donations from day-of-event attendees, we raised more than $58,000 to assist Virginians affected by breast cancer – from symptoms to survivorship. These funds provide advocacy at the local, state, and national levels, care packages for newly diagnosed patients, and free educational materials and programs across the state.

Judith Ellis, VBCF Co-Founder, remarked, “VBCF has become what we could only dream of in Mary Jo Ellis Kahn’s living room all those years ago!” 

Photos by Jessica Stone Hendricks Photography.

One Response

  1. Libby Gatewood says:

    Thank you again for your kind invitation and it was a grand event.
    My license plate is 1 in 8 and we are still at the level of diagnosis. Thank you to all that have a pink ribbon license plate that has generated 1.7 million dollars to help the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation, Educate, Advocate and work to Eradicate Breast Cancer!

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