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Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center receives grant from Susan G. Komen Philadelphia® to bring life-saving breast cancer services to the men and women of Sussex County

Tunnell Cancer Center is one of twelve Komen Philadelphia grantees benefiting from more than $1.1 million distributed to advance breast cancer education, support, screening and treatment programs over the next year.

Susan G. Komen Philadelphia® recently announced the awarding of $1,103,512 in grants to twelve organizations to advance critical and life-saving breast cancer education, early detection and treatment, as well as support for survivors, in 2014-2015. The grantee group represents some of the finest healthcare, community and family service organizations from throughout Komen Philadelphia's fifteen-county service area, and offers broad outreach in terms of ethnicity, income level, age and lifestyle.

For the 2014-2015 grant period, Komen Philadelphia distributed the more than $1.1 million in grants to support breast health education, awareness, screening, treatment and support projects specifically targeting low-income, uninsured women. Given the changes in the healthcare system, Health Insurance Counseling has also been given a greater focus in the group of funded programs. The grant period runs from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2014.

Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center received a Screening/Treatment Grant from the Komen Philadelphia Community Grants Program to fund its program Sharing Our Stories, Saving Our Sisters (SOS²), which focuses on prevention and diagnosis of breast cancer in minority and underserved populations in Sussex County, Delaware. This includes educational outreach, free screenings and the funding of mammograms and often diagnostic biopsies if the patient is unable to pay.

“Our Community Grants Program has always focused on saving lives and establishing foundations that better the odds for future generations to survive breast cancer," said Elaine I. Grobman, Chief Executive Officer of Susan G. Komen Philadelphia. "However, we've entered a new era in our fight. We've made great progress in educating and motivating women to talk about breast cancer, practice early detection and prioritize their breast heath… and this progress means more women than ever are now seeking help. Komen Philadelphia and the grantees that carry out our mission truly have had to evolve our work to meet the demand. We have an even greater responsibility to the 3.7 million women we serve to assure EVERY one of them has ready access to the doctors, services and support that save lives. Komen Philadelphia and our grantees are making sure that happens."

“We are honored to once again receive this grant,” said Cherrie Rich, RN, MSN, Executive Director of Oncology Services at Beebe Healthcare. “Sharing Our Stories, Saving Our Sisters, is a program that works in conjunction with our nationally accredited Breast Health Program to provide a comprehensive and seamless care to our patients. The grant is so important in that it supports our efforts to increase awareness in these underserved populations so that they will be screened earlier and receive medical care as soon as it is needed. Thanks to the grants, we have been able to reach out to thousands of people in Sussex County since 2010.”

Komen Philadelphia distributes grants to organizations that work with the medically underserved, including uninsured and underinsured individuals and those individuals who may not receive adequate care because of barriers such as language, cultural differences and fear. The outreach spans the Komen Philadelphia service area of: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York counties, PA; Camden County, NJ; and Kent, New Castle and Sussex counties, DE. Grants are made possible by the organization's family of supporters – ranging from Race for the Cure sponsors and participants, to educational program sponsors, to individual donors – all making a very tangible impact in their communities through the work of Komen Philadelphia and its grantees.

“This grant recognizes the commitment of our staff members who are dedicated to making sure that all people in the communities we serve have access to the kinds of programs and services that can help them stay healthy,” said Jeffrey M. Fried, FACHE, President and CEO of Beebe Healthcare. “The importance of the SOS² program funded by the grant is to reach a population that often does not seek out medical care. It is a program that embodies our vision of making Sussex County one of the healthiest counties in the nation.”

Komen Philadelphia's rigorous grantee selection process assures funded programs uphold the integrity of the Komen name and meet the needs of diverse communities throughout its service area. In total, the programs funded by 2014-2015 Komen Philadelphia grants are expected to accomplish the following:

  • Screening mammograms: 3,682
  • Clinical breast exams: 335
  • Diagnostic services: 1,736
  • Health insurance counseling sessions: 450
  • Linkages to screening, treatment & survivorship support: 1,357
  • Education & outreach contacts: 12,360

A complete list of 2014-2015 grantees, grant type and funded program for each is available at

"Our grantees are highly capable and extremely devoted… they are out in our neighborhoods every day to assure women have access right now to the services they need to detect breast cancer as early as possible and, if needed, face a diagnosis with the best possible care," said Carlos Hernandez, Program Director, Grants & Public Policy, Komen Philadelphia. "It is a privilege for me to work so closely with Tunnell Cancer Center and all our grantees. They are leading millions of people out of the darkness of breast cancer and instead filling their journey with hope and life-enriching, life-saving services regardless of race, financial ability, education or background."

Paul Minnick, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Executive Vice President /Chief Operating Officer at Beebe Healthcare, also commended the dedication of Judith Ramirez, Manager of Oncology Population Health, who has guided SOS² since its inception in 2009.

“Today, this program has a network of lay navigators reaching into many communities throughout Sussex County, educating them about the importance of mammography and other cancer screenings. These efforts allow us to touch the lives of thousands of people, and provide care to those who need it. It took tireless hours by Judith and many others to get us to where we are today.”

The 2013-2014 Komen Philadelphia Community Grant money is a result of the organization's fund-raising efforts throughout 2013, the largest contributor being the 23rd annual Susan G. Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure® . Komen Philadelphia is hopeful this year's Race (Mother's Day, May 11) will help drive event greater grant resources for 2014-2015.

About Susan G. Komen Philadelphia

Komen Philadelphia is part of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. In the past 23 years, since the first Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure, the Komen Philadelphia Affiliate has distributed over $52.5 million in grants to local organizations, funded approximately 140,000 mammograms for women in need in its service area, and contributed approximately $21.5 million to breast cancer research. Through grants and Komen Philadelphia outreach initiatives targeting a diversity of communities, the organization empowers people in a 15-county service area: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York counties, PA; Kent, New Castle and Sussex counties, DE; Camden County, NJ. Outreach ranges from mammograms, diagnostic services and treatment for women in need, to education, counseling and other forms of support, to programs for breast cancer survivors.

About Tunnell Cancer Center

Tunnell Cancer Center was established in 1995. It has received the Commission on Cancer's highest accreditation with commendation as a comprehensive community cancer center. Its clinical specialties are medical oncology/hematology and radiation oncology. It also offers a multidisciplinary approach for planning all cancer treatment. Nearly 300 patients visit the center each day.

Beebe Healthcare is a not-for-profit community healthcare system with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health for the people residing, working, or visiting in the communities we serve. It offers services throughout Southern Delaware including a 210-licensed-bed hospital, a cancer center, and outpatient facilities at multiple sites providing walk-in care, lab, imaging, and physical rehab services. For more information, please visit us online at

About Sharing Our Stories, Saving Our Sisters (SOS²)

SOS² is an outreach initiative that focuses on providing free breast cancer screening and education to women in minority and under-served populations in Sussex County who might otherwise not receive the healthcare that they need. Tunnell Cancer Center’s cancer screening nurse navigator works in conjunction with a team of volunteer lay navigators who educate the people in their communities and who encourage them to have regular screenings for cancer. When a patient receives a positive diagnosis for breast cancer, he or she is introduced to the breast cancer nurse navigator that guides the patient through the care and treatment provided by Beebe Healthcare’s Breast Health Program, which is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons.

“Our breast health program seamlessly provides diagnostic services with surgery and outpatient treatment services and survivorship programs throughout the Beebe Healthcare system,” said Judith Ramirez, Manager of Oncology Population Health.

Caption: From left to right: Carlos Hernandez, Program Director, Grants and Public Policy for the Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Komen); Judy Kellem, Board Secretary, Komen; Ron Harper, Esq., Board President as of March 2014 for Komen; Debbie Campbell, RN, Nurse Navigator at Tunnell Cancer Center; Amanda Gross, Event Coordinator at Tunnell Cancer Center; and Elaine I. Grobman, CEO, Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.