|Judith A. Jordan, Chair
(MDA-01; UTMD Anderson Cancer Center; PC: Valerie Sepeda)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Judith's mother, grandmother, and great grandmother all battled breast cancer. She chose to take an active role in finding a way to prevent the disease and was the first BCPT participant randomized at her site. When the BCPT ended, Judith, who had been on a placebo, had the option of beginning tamoxifen for the prevention of breast cancer, but she opted to wait and join STAR. Judith, who has two sons, hopes to help her nieces and other future generations find ways to decrease their breast cancer risk. “She has given of her time and talents freely and has been very active in promoting both trials,” says her recommending coordinator, Diane Weber. “[Judith] has even appealed to a panel of physicians to identify all women at increased risk for breast cancer and make them aware of all available options to reduce their risk.”
(CCOP, Spartanburg Regional Medical Center (SPA-02); PC: Donna Hewitt)
Pelzer, South Carolina
I’ve been a STAR participant for two years, and recently, I was nominated to the STAR Participant Advisory Board (PAB). One of the reasons why I decided to become a STAR study participant was because I saw my sister, Jo, suffer with her breast cancer from 1997-98. She passed away at the age of 50.
My desire, at the time, was to do something to help others, because I didn’t want them to go through the same pain and suffering that my family and I witnessed with my sister. As family members, we suffered along with the patient, so I wanted to become involved in a project or program “in her memory” that would somehow focus on awareness so that I could reach my African American sisters, and others, young and old. Now my passion is to eliminate the fear and undress the shame of viewing our bodies when a health issue is in question.
As a STAR participant, I stay in touch with my STAR site through monthly phone calls so that they can keep an eye on my overall well being. I keep a daily diary and write down any feelings or unusual physical occurrences. These calls give me the opportunity to talk about these issues or to have any general questions answered. At this point, I have not experienced any major side effects and the ones that I have had are minimal and are closely monitored by my nurse, Donna Hewitt.
I feel that the information collected from my participation in this study will help someone else. If a cure lies in these study drugs, tamoxifen or raloxifene, then we will all benefit and I will have accomplished my goal.
My decision to join STAR was solely to honor the memory of my sister, who was a tall and proud lady. She was my best friend, confidant, and mentor. Our close relationship continued until her demise
Grace del Castillo
(CCOP, Mount Sinai Medical Center (MIA-01); PC:Francine Mineau)
Grace joined STAR because she wanted to have an active role in the research for the prevention of breast cancer.
She was born in Cuba, and migrated to the United States at the age of seven. She is living in Miami, with her husband, her daughter and two sons. She has been a Telecommunications Service Consultant for 23 years. She is also the on air producer for her husband's sports radio broadcasts. She is fluent in both English and Spanish, and understands the importance of communication.
Grace became interested in STAR the minute she read an article about it in a local newspaper. Her younger sister had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and had just completed her chemotherapy. Having seen the physical as well as the emotional effects of this horrible disease, she knows the important role that research plays in the fight to eliminate breast cancer. She feels that STAR has given her the opportunity of having an active part in the prevention of breast cancer, and she is very interested in spreading the word about STAR, especially among Hispanic women.
|Evelyn Smith DeMille
(Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DAN-01); PC: Beth Cahoon)
An alumna of the BCPT, Evelyn enrolled in the trial in June of 1992 with a "desire to push the envelope in prevention, especially for breast cancer," says her STAR coordinator, Beth Cahoon. Evelyn's younger sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer five years earlier. Ironically, her sister died on the very day that Evelyn was told she had been accepted to participate in BCPT.
As one of Dana-Farber's first STAR participants, Evelyn strongly believes in the old adage, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," and has a long-standing commitment to public health research. She wants to encourage other women to participate in breast cancer research, not only for themselves but also for their loved ones.
A social worker with public health training, she is currently the executive secretary of the Elizabeth and George L. Sanborn Foundation for the Treatment and Cure for Cancer. Evelyn, who is diabetic, has also worked for the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard University's Division of Health Policy Research and Education.
"[Evelyn] is extremely well informed on the most recent health information, particularly pertaining to cancer. She will bring her energy, creativity, commitment to prevention, excellent public speaking and organizational skills, as well as her experience in public health and public relations to the PAB," praises Cahoon.
(Baptist Regional Cancer Institute (JAC-01); PC: Sally Coxwell)
Like many STAR participants, I have a family history of breast cancer. My mother passed away with breast cancer and my two aunts, her sisters, also both died as a result of this disease. In addition, I personally had two breast biopsies that made me eligible to participate.
I've been married for more than 40 years to my husband, Amos, and have three grown sons and four granddaughters. It is because of my concern for my granddaughters and the possibility that they might inherit this disease that motivated me to join STAR. Also, I wanted to take this opportunity to participate in something that may give me a chance to help prevent, reduce, and possibly cure breast cancer occurrences in the future.
I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the Baptist Cancer Institute team and have made a personal commitment to reach as many sisters as possible to get more minority representation in STAR. As a member of our local, and now the national, Participant Advisory Board, I talk at every opportunity about the benefits of being in this study.
(CCOP, St. Louis - Cape Girardeau (STL-01); PC: Carol Antinora)
St. Louis, Missouri
"[Nancy] entered STAR based upon her primary goal in life... to help others," says her recommending coordinator, Marian Wuest. Breast cancer had developed in both her mother and one of her sisters, which increased her desire to contribute to the research that might finally defeat this disease that devastates so many families. As a retired medical records administrator, "she passionately believes that medical science cannot progress without [clinical trials]." Before she entered the STAR trial, she volunteered for and participated in many other clinical trials, both at the University of California at San Diego and at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, as well as at several medical research facilities in the St. Louis area.
"Her enthusiasm for STAR is contagious," continues Wuest. "She has already referred many women to the study and is credited for at least two new STAR participants since she began in January, 2000." Nancy's most current goal is to encourage her older sister to participate in the STAR study with her since they share many of the same risk factors. Nancy's altruistic nature is apparent in her community efforts as well. She is currently working as a receptionist, caregiver, and driver for retired Ursuline nuns at their convent.
(CCOP, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (SRO-01); PC: Vickie Henry)
Gerri joined the STAR program to be on the cutting edge of the fight against breast cancer. After losing her mother to breast cancer and helping her sister in her own battle against the disease, Gerri felt the need to become further involved. While searching for information about reducing her risk of getting breast cancer, she came across the STAR program and the findings from the BCPT and decided to become a participant.
As the co-owner and producer of a San Francisco based syndication company and former art director for NBC News, Gerri is not a person to sit on the sidelines. Her recommending coordinator, Janet Crouse, says "She is a woman of action and involvement who believes that without women willing to commit themselves to research studies, there will be no new advances in breast cancer prevention."
Gerri has a long history of community involvement, including active participation in a San Francisco based outreach effort to the people of Nicaragua and The California Main Street Program and Sponsoring Survivorship, a breast cancer walk/run in Lakeport, California. She finds fulfillment in developing strong relationships among diverse groups of people and sees that as one of the biggest assets that she will bring to the program.
|Ann Marie Gugger
(Fox Chase Cancer Center (FXC-01); PC: Joan James)
Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
My true occupation has evolved into being a Mom to my three sons, the result of twenty-eight years of a great marriage (most times anyway). I started off my adult life believing my career was to be a research chemist. This delusion lasted for sixteen years.
During these years of chemistry and raising a family, my mom developed breast cancer. I watched her die a slow but progressively demeaning death over a five year period. Working as a chemist during this time, I was able to use computer resources in their infancy and found there was not much available to us.
As I watched her die, I was determined to do whatever I could to prevent or detect the disease as early as possible. When I read a news blip about the original prevention study, I was very excited. I attended an information session and was on my way. I have seen too many of my friends and family discover a lump and see the mental and physical anguish that follows. I know that I am in a position where I can do something to help others as well as myself and I plan on taking complete advantage of it.
I never had any doubt about participating in the first prevention study nor do I for the STAR trial. I waved my prerogative to take tamoxifen after the first study and waited for two years to be eligible for the STAR trial. I know that I am doing the best that I can for myself and other women.
(University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (IOW-01); PC: Mary Fitzgerald)
Iowa City, Iowa
As a BCPT alumna, Judy's choice to participate in STAR was a natural evolution. She felt secure in the clinical trial setting and knew that she wanted to continue to play a part in something very important to her and other women. A former teacher, she has become a strong advocate for STAR and encourages other teachers in the local school system to seek information about the trial. "[Judy] is an excellent communicator, both as a speaker and writer, and has a great sense of humor in addition to a clear understanding of how important the clinical trial endeavor is in the fight against breast cancer," her recommending coordinator, says Mary Fitzgerald.
|Heather Gracie L'Heureux
(Jewish General Hospital (JGH-01); PC: Linda Robitaille)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Heather's main gift is one of motivation and encouragement. "She is extremely positive about the study and will promote it whenever she can," said her recommending coordinator, Karen Truter. "She is a lively and vivacious person, always bringing laughter and joy to any of our meetings." A board member of the Huntington County Hospital in Quebec for the past ten years, Heather was referred to the study by her family doctor. Her mother and aunt both died from breast cancer, and she knew immediately that STAR was something from which she could benefit. Heather, who speaks both French and English, has always been a "patient representative," speaking out for those who cannot speak for themselves. "She is innovative and will bring new and fresh ideas to the committee," says Truter.
|Marsha M. Minervini
(Munson Medical Center (GRR-02); PC: Pam Bergman)
Traverse City, Michigan
As a survivor of cervical cancer, Marsha knows the devastation a cancer diagnosis brings to a patient and her family. Her younger sister is currently being treated for breast cancer, and she herself has had three breast biopsies, so she is very motivated to do anything she can to fight cancer. Marsha, a former commercial and residential contractor, now works full time as a realtor. She was honored by her peers with the 1998 Humanitarian/Community Service Award, the 2000 President's Award for her community and realtor involvement, and the 2000 Women's Council of Realtors Member of the Year Award. She is an avid spokesperson for STAR and has conducted two TV interviews for her site. Marsha's STAR coordinator, Pam Bergman, says that Marsha "displays excellent rapport" and is "articulate and well spoken." Marsha's favorite hobby is singing and she is very active with Sweet Adelines International and her church choirs.
(Tom Baker Cancer Centre (TOM-01); PC: Anita Hades)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
To my closest friends, I am considered outgoing, fun loving, and a little eccentric. I attribute all the above to my Irish Catholic upbringing. My Canadian-born husband Dale and I have survived 30 years of marriage with never a dull moment. Dale is a Scorpio and yours truly a Leo. We have three children, ages 24 to 28. Hopefully soon, we can enjoy the true meaning of "empty nesters." We love Calgary, Alberta and being close to the beautiful Rockies. My hobbies include wine making, tai chi, and walking my gorgeous golden retriever, Murphy.
I joined the BCPT, and now STAR, having lost my mother to breast cancer. I remain confident that the results of this trial will benefit not only myself, but my daughters and women everywhere.
|Susan R. Shea, Ph.D.
(Central Illinois CCOP (CIL-01); PC: Peggy Verrill)
Susan is the director of the Instruction/Professional Development Department at the Illinois Education Association and has a doctorate degree in Public Administration and Higher Education. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50, and her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30. Susan chose to participate in STAR even though her mother and sister did not agree with her decision whole-heartedly. Her sister has since died from breast cancer. As a professional educator, Susan believes that the only way we can gain reliable information about treatment and prevention is through well-planned, unbiased studies. "She is an enthusiastic, articulate advocate of the breast cancer prevention studies, and she has been a ready volunteer for local media interviews. She is an interesting lady who will be an asset the PAB," says Susan's recommending STAR coordinator, Sid Shonkwiler.
(CCOP, Warren Cancer Research Foundation (TUL-01); PC: Cindy Evans)
I was introduced to STAR through the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Indian Health Care System in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. My history with breast cancer began in my early 20's when my mother was suddenly diagnosed with breast cancer, which resulted in a mastectomy along with chemotherapy and radiation treatment. A mother myself, I moved my ailing mother into my house and stopped working to care for her. But, at that time, my two younger, teenage sisters were in high school and I soon found myself going in-between two households; staying at my mother’s house during the week and returning home on the weekends when my sisters could assist with our mother’s care. We all had a great amount of responsibility at such a young age. My mother subsequently lost her battle with the disease and died two years later.
Jeanne is very active in her Native American (Creek) community where she promotes breast cancer awareness and prevention. She is just as active and dedicated to her church community, which sponsors many programs for the poor and those with limited access to health care. And, according to her STAR Community Outreach Coordinator, Nancy Bralic, “Jeanne is a very vivacious, warm, fun-loving, and articulate Indian lady who has given us great insight and access to the Creek Nations of Oklahoma. We feel that her personal experiences with breast cancer and willingness to help others makes her a wonderful addition to the STAR Participant Advisory Board. The NSABP has made an excellent choice.”
|Arlene E. Stevens
(UCLA Center for Health Sciences (UCL-01); PC: Barbara Kahn)
Marina Del Rey, California
"Arlene is enthusiastic about participating on the PAB and being an advocate for recruiting racially and ethnically diverse women to STAR," says her recommending coordinator, Joyce Holley.
Her mother had a mastectomy at the age of 24. Her father believed he saved her mother's life by agreeing to the surgery. He wanted her alive and did not care if her body was no longer perfect. Her brother had prostate surgery a few years ago and has been cancer free since.
Arlene, a native New Yorker, lived on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands for 23 years, where she knew many cancer victims and lost many friends. Her son and daughter grew up and married on St. Croix, and she became a grandmother there. When they all left the island to pursue their careers on the mainland, she followed. Arlene has a background in marketing and public relations, and experience managing the Washington DC office of a large Chicago Intellectual Property law firm. Recently, she moved to California from Maryland to be closer to her family.
Arlene has atypical hyperplasia, which motivates her to make a special effort to keep informed about health and breast cancer issues. Before joining STAR, she was reluctant to give up her hormonal therapy, but then, she says, "that became secondary to being involved, doing something that just might ensure my daughter, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters a future free of breast cancer."
Arlene helps to promote STAR by discussing her experience as a trial participant at educational programs locally and nationally. She was also featured in the May 2002 supplement to Newsweek Magazine.
(Fred Hutchinson (PUG-01); PC: Joelle Machia)
Hello! My name is Jackie Thomas. I'm a citizen activist in my suburban hometown of Issaquah, Washington. My husband, Hank, and I care deeply about the quality of life in our community. Hank and I met in Naples, Italy; at the time, I was a backpacking peacenik and he an officer in the United States Navy. Our life together has included travel adventures and living in many parts of the U.S.A. Now retired in the Northwest, our claim-to-fame is nine grandchildren (teens to tots).
My mother and her sister both had breast cancer. I began yearly mammagrams at age 35. At 37, I had my first cancer scare. I felt so powerless and ignorant, I vowed to learn all I could about breast cancer. I was lucky then, but wanted to be prepared for "next time." I was actively looking for an opportunity to be involved in the fight against breast cancer when the first Breast Cancer Prevention Trial came along. I supported that trial in every way I could. It was a tremendously positive and empowering experience. Now eligible for the STAR trial, I am so pleased to be participating in the search for answers, more options for women. I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to participate on the national Participant Advisory Board.
(Ellis Fischel Cancer Center (ELF-01); PC: Marta Fuemmeler)
"[Hsiao-Mei] is forever smiling and just makes you feel happy when speaking with her," says her recommending coordinator, Pamela Lucas. Hsiao-Mei, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor, is a child health project director in the Endocrinology Department at the University of Missouri. With her vast knowledge in clinical trials and bubbly personality, she has the ability to portray STAR positively to those around her. "I feel she is an excellent choice for the PAB, not only to increase her involvement in something that is very close to her heart, but also to serve as an advocate for the Asian/American community," Lucas says.
(Integris Oncology Services North/South (OKB-01); PC: Darilyn Rhoades)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
I am a native Oklahoman. I have been married to the same man for 52 years. My hobbies are golf, aerobics, bridge, crossword puzzles, and reading. I have a bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University and worked as a Service Representative for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company for 4 years after graduation. Since my children were born, my activities have been strictly volunteerism. These included various Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) offices, as well as president of our high school PTA. I spent 5 years on the Oklahoma City Symphony's women's committee and 13 years as head of a box office committee for the Oklahoma City Lyric Theater. I was an active board member of the American Cancer Society for 15 years and am a member of the D.A.R. I also acted as an office manager once a week for my daughter's medical practice.
I became a BCPT participant in 1992 and was one of the first women to sign up for STAR, because my daughter, 35, was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was still in her medical residency and had a 5-month old baby at home. Until then, I hadn't been aware of how many young women got breast cancer and how devastating it was to the family. My daughter died in 1996 at the age of 42 of metastatic breast cancer. That is much too young to die. I was even more deeply committed to the prevention trial after her death. It is so important that we do something to prevent this from happening to our young women. I still have one daughter and one granddaughter about whom I am very concerned. From the beginning of the trial, I felt that I wanted to be a part of a program that was dedicated to the prevention of this terrible disease. If some way can be found to prevent this disease, I want to be part of it.