One in eight women in the U.S. will have invasive breast cancer in their lives,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh. “In 2015, twelve million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Yet, with every battle we fight here, we get one step closer to beating breast cancer once and for all.”
Schuh was one of a crowd of several hundred people who gathered in 94-degree heat to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Aiello Breast Center at University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (BWMC). The party was held beneath a large white tent erected in the center’s parking lot.
Many held paper fans with which they vainly tried to beat away the heat.
Including 200 present or former breast cancer patients of the center, the crowd clustered beneath the tent to laud Joseph “Joe” Aiello, owner of JBA Chevrolet in Glen Burnie, and his wife of 56 years, Doris Aiello.
Many wore pink, a symbol of breast cancer awareness, sat at one of the festival-like booths to have pink extensions woven into their hair, or nibbled on pink cotton candy.
The Aiello couple had been impressed when a friend in the car business, Creston Tate of Tate Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, donated one million dollars for an emergency room at BWMC. Tate and his wife Betty Jane Tate later donated more money for the Tate Cancer Center at the hospital. Inspired, the Aiellos donated $250,000 to a care center at BWMC, followed in 2004 with a one million dollar gift to establish the Aiello Breast Center.
That’s not the end of the Aiello family’s largess. Near the end of the party, Joe Aiello handed BWMC president and CEO Karen Olscamp a check for $25,000, earmarked for the Aiello Breast Center.
Delegate Pamela G. Beidle, of District 32, is not a stranger to the Aiello Breast Center.
“I visit this place one a year for a mammogram,” she said. “I had a scare in 2005. I had something that had to be biopsied. So, I come back every year for a check up.”
She is among the more than 8,000 patients treated at the center since it opened.
Beidel and Schuh were joined by several local politicians and officials including State’s Attorney Wes Adams, Sheriff Ron Bateman, County Council vice chairman Pete Smith, and Maryland’s First Lady Yumi Hogan.
The First Lady paused to admire a Chevrolet Camaro decorated with bright pink swirls parked at the entrance to the tent.
Motioning towards the attendees, Mrs. Hogan said, “Their story is my story, because of my husband’s cancer.”
She stated Gov. Hogan’s health is improving. “He is doing very well. He’s staying strong.
“He says ‘Hello!'”
The center’s staff of eight, including physicians Drs. Cynthia Drogula and Barbara Urban, circulated through the festive audience.
“Because of women who’ve openly discussed their breast cancer or risks of getting breast cancer, like actress Angelina Jolie, more people are coming into the center more interested in their health,” said
State Senator Ed Degrange, at the tail end of politicians presenting certificates, looked downcast when he saw Schuh’s professionally framed citation.
Degrange’s was in a plastic folder. “Our budget’s been cut,” he joked. Offering it to Dr. Drogula, he said, “I’m sure you can frame this.”
Dr. Drogula offered the audience a message of hope. A decade ago, she said, Anne Arundel County had higher rates of breast cancer than the rest of the state and higher mortality rates. “While breast cancer rates continue to rise, rates in Anne Arundel County have dropped for the first ti
me in recorded history,” she announced.
“Awareness is getting out there. Women used to come in with advanced stages of the disease. Now, more are coming here in the early stages of breast cancer.”
Shared from Capital Gazette