Port Richmond vs. breast cancer

The Ladies of Port Rich­mond are work­ing hard to raise money to help loc­al hos­pit­als dur­ing Na­tion­al Breast Can­cer Aware­ness Month. What they hope to do next is ex­pand bey­ond the name­sake neigh­bor­hood.

The mem­bers of the Ladies of Port Rich­mond say that des­pite the group’s name, its cause isn’t Port Rich­mond-spe­cif­ic.

Of course it isn’t — the non-profit, now in its eighth year, cru­sades for breast can­cer re­search and aware­ness. Dur­ing this, Na­tion­al Breast Can­cer Aware­ness Month, the ladies are in the middle of a very busy part of the year.

On Oct. 14, the group hos­ted a break­fast buf­fet at Sug­ar­House casino, the pro­ceeds of which will be­ne­fit breast can­cer re­search at Thomas Jef­fer­son Uni­versity, Naz­areth and Holy Re­deem­er Hos­pit­als.

Those three hos­pit­als cur­rently re­ceive the pro­ceeds of LOPR’s ef­forts.

On Oct. 30, LOPR will host, along with Naz­areth Hos­pit­al, its third an­nu­al Ladies Night Out at Rich­mond Hall, at 2619 E. In­di­ana Ave. The night will fea­ture din­ner and an on­co­logy pan­el dis­cus­sion with ex­perts from Naz­areth Hos­pit­al and the Amer­ic­an Can­cer So­ci­ety.

LOPR’s biggest event is its Port Rich­mond Breast Can­cer Walk, which took place on May 20 this year. The walk brings par­ti­cipants through the streets of Port Rich­mond.

The group’s biggest goal, said LOPR pres­id­ent Mary Louise Leu­ters, is reach­ing bey­ond Port Rich­mond to en­cour­age people to join the cause.

She said, per­haps, the “Port Rich­mond” part of the group’s name throws people off, but it’s a re­mind­er of LOPR’s be­gin­nings — she said she simply wanted to give back to her com­munity of more than 40 years when she planned the first breast can­cer walk.

A two-time sur­viv­or of breast can­cer, Leu­ters said she knows the group could help those af­fected by the dis­ease who live in oth­er parts of the city.

“We want to have Fishtown and Brides­burg join us,” Leu­ters said, adding she wants to see more people hit­ting the pave­ment for the an­nu­al walk. “We need a lot of walk­ers.”

Len­ore Czyzewski, vice pres­id­ent of the group, is also a breast can­cer sur­viv­or.

“It’s a per­son­al thing people don’t talk about,” Czyzewski said of breast can­cer. She said, though, that the group works to change that, and Leu­ters in par­tic­u­lar works to get neigh­bors in­volved by simply ask­ing around.

“I met Mary on the street one day, and right off the bat, she got me in­volved,” Czyzewski said.

The group is an out­let not just for breast can­cer sur­viv­ors and pa­tients, the ladies said, but for any­one who wants to con­trib­ute.

Maur­een Janda, who helps the group with bake sales and flea mar­kets, has nev­er had breast can­cer. She has been dia­gnosed, though, with lupus.

Leu­ters said of Janda, “As sick as this wo­man was, she was al­ways there to help.”

“I struggle like they struggle,” Janda said. “We’re all go­ing through it.”

LOPR hopes neigh­bors throughout the River Wards and the whole city will get in­volved for a par­tic­u­lar reas­on — though oth­er na­tion­al breast can­cer ef­forts are lar­ger, LOPR is tied to the com­munity.

“It’s their friends and neigh­bors,” Leu­ters said of the mem­bers. “It be­ne­fits hos­pit­als in this com­munity.”

Neigh­bors also should re­cog­nize, she said, that LOPR’s activ­it­ies are cheap­er. The Ladies Night Out on Oct. 30 costs $5, and the an­nu­al walk costs $30.

“The whole com­munity is great,” Czyzewski said of Port Rich­mond.

That’s primar­ily what Leu­ters said she hopes will en­cour­age oth­er neigh­bor­hoods to join LOPR.

“Port Rich­mond isn’t al­ways what you see on TV,” she said. “There’s good stuff go­ing on here, too.”

For more in­form­a­tion or to get in­volved, vis­it www.ladiesof­portrich­mond.com. To re­gister for Ladies Night Out, call 1-866-NAZ-ARET.

Man­aging Ed­it­or Mi­kala Jam­is­on can be reached at 215-354-3113 or at mjam­is­on@bsmphilly.com.

You can reach at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.

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