2021 CDBCF Embrace Hope Recap

Please help us make this our biggest year ever! Go to to donate to Connie’s End-of-Year Campaign. We provide critical breast health services for the uninsured and underinsured women in New Jersey, helping to ensure everyone can #Embracehope.

Watch a quick recap of the Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation’s eagerly-anticipated annual Embrace Hope fundraiser that was held on October 15, 2021.

To add to the excitement, we honored Eli Manning, legendary New York Giants quarterback and two-time Superbowl MVP. We also recognized Dr. Dipti Pandya, M.D., head Radiologist at the Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Center at Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, NJ, with a distinguished service award for her dedicated service and commitment to her patients and the foundation.

The virtual Embrace Hope event was broadcast live on our website with a message from Connie Dwyer and Dr. Pandya, an appearance by Eli Manning, a live auction, and text-to-donate.

Using the Latest Technology to Save Lives

State of the art technology for breast imaging continues to be the standard at the Connie Dwyer Breast Center at Trinitas Regional Medical Center. A new 3-D tomosynthesis mammogram machine now provides both advanced images and the capability for a 3-D guided biopsy. “density a woman has in her breast, the more likely that a small lesion could go unseen by 2-D imaging,” says Dr. Dipti Panday, lead breast imaging radiologist. “3-D imaging allows us to spread the tissue out ANSI lesions working underneath.”

Another benefit of that technology is fewer patient callbacks. “in the past, women might get asked to come back for a second mammogram, and it turned out to just be normal breast tissue,” says Dr. Pandya. “With 3-D imaging, we can figure that out in advance and eliminate unnecessary return visits. That helps reduce patient anxiety.”

Having access to a breast surgeon right in the center a few days a week also enhances Communication with radiologists regarding breast cancer issues. “It creates a much more hands-on and interactive link between the imagers and a breast surgeon, which is very important for providing the highest level of patient care,” says Dr. Pandya.

Bridgewater Commons Partnership

In recognition of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in partnership with Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation (CDBCF), a N.J.- based organization which serves underprivileged and vulnerable women by ensuring the availability of top-quality breast-health services, Bridgewater Commons unveiled Embrace Hope, a photographic mural featuring six Connie Dwyer Breast Center and foundation staff members, each tirelessly dedicated in their work to care for women in N.J. diagnosed with breast cancer.

Here is Channel 12 News segment of the striking black and white photographs of these unsung women’s healthcare heroes including a physician, ultrasound technologist and biopsy navigator beautifully captured by celebrated N.J. photographer Joy Glenn, each portrait will be displayed with a personal message of hope and testimonial about that individual’s role in the ongoing fight against the disease. 

Personal Protection Equipment Grant

CDBCF and our donors made it possible for us to grant Trinitas Regional Medical Center, in New Jersey, an emergency grant of $70,000 used for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for front line health workers in March 2020.  

MRI Dream to Reality

Thanks to all of the CDBCF donors who made it possible to pay the third and last $333,000 in December 2020. The total contribution of one million dollars to Trinitas Regional Medical Center for installing a new state-of-the-art MRI machine and suite to be used by patients at the Connie Dwyer Breast Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Women With Will: Connie Dwyer on Her Cancer Experience and Creating Her Breast Cancer Foundation

After being treated for breast cancer herself, Connie Dwyer noticed how hard it was for underprivileged women to deal with the disease, so she became part of the solution. READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE>  

Thank you to the Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation

For cancer patients in active treatment, Covid – 19 has been extremely difficult to deal with, Especially for those who are facing financial difficulties. At Curémonos, we know exactly what they are going through as we continue to support them in their journeys. All of these patients were already struggling financially before the pandemic and their situation has only worsen due to the reduction of services and resources available at their hospitals and in their communities. They are not only battling breast cancer, but they are also struggling with financial difficulties and the uncertainty brought by the pandemic.

We would like to express our gratitude to The Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation for their generosity in providing ShopRite cards. With their support, we were able to help nine breast cancer patients from Trinitas Hospital, Overlook Hospital and Morristown Hospital. The ShopRite cards were distributed as follows:

Dr. Cholankeril picked up ShopRite cards for four of her neediest breast cancer patients. All of her patients are undergoing chemotherapy treatment and their financial situation makes it extremely difficult to cope with their day-to-day lives. Their stories are as follows:

• Beverly was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. She lost her job and house shortly after her diagnosis. She had to live in a hotel with her children for two years. Despite all of her difficulties, Beverly is extremely grateful to be alive.
• Regina was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer on February 5, 2019. Shortly, after her diagnosis, she lost her job and has not been able to obtain disability benefits. Although her husband works, the loss of her income has put a strain in their financial stability.
• Omaira was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 71 in January of this year. Due to her age and financial difficulties, it has been extremely difficult for Omaira to cope with her diagnosis and treatment. Although she lives with her sister, her sister lost her babysitting job due to the pandemic. Omaira will be using her ShopRite cards to buy food and much needed medication.
• Virginia was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019. She is a single mom with three young children. Due to her treatment, Virginia has not been able to work and must rely on the limited support provided by her family. Virginia has been our client since December 2019.

Since the majority of these patients are new clients for Curémonos, we secured other sources of financial support to help them during this very difficult and uncertain time.  Sandra was first diagnosed with early stage, triple negative breast cancer in 2013. She completed her treatment in 2014 and was cancer free for a couple of years. After the birth of her son in 2017, she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer, which had metastasized to her stomach and liver. Due to the harsh chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Sandra is unable to work. She is married with four children and her family lives on a limited income. Since her husband’s hours were reduced at work due to Convid – 19, she has had to rely on the support of her family. Unfortunately, her family is also struggling financially so their support is very limited.

At the age of twenty-nine, Ashley was diagnosed in September 2019 with an aggressive type of breast cancer. She is a single mom of a four-year-old daughter. She completed several rounds of chemotherapy, which was followed by surgery. She is currently undergoing radiation treatment. Due to the harsh chemotherapy treatments, she had to stop working. Although Ashley is eager to go back to work, it has been extremely difficult for her to find a job due to the pandemic and her ongoing cancer treatment.

At the age of thirty-five, Digna was diagnosed in January 2020 with stage IIIB, triple negative breast cancer. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment and is scheduled for surgery in August. She lives with her husband and two young children. Unfortunately, her husband was furloughed due to Convid – 19. The loss of income has put a financial strain on the family. She has had to rely on food pantries to feed her family. Therefore, she was extremely grateful to be one of the beneficiaries of the ShopRite food cards as she was able to buy groceries for her family during the Memorial Day weekend.

Alison was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in June 2019. Due to the severity of her condition, she lost her consulting job shortly after her diagnosis. It has been a constant financial struggle for Alison and she was hoping to secure a part-time job at the beginning of the year to supplement her disability benefits. Unfortunately, Convid – 19 has put a hold on her dreams to regain financial stability. Despite all of the difficulties, Alison has a positive attitude and is extremely grateful for all of the support provided by Curémonos and other foundations. The following is her testimonial:

“It was fun and always a pleasure to see you today as we did our social distance air hugs. Once again, a great BIG THANK YOU for the Shoprite Gift Card. Your timing is impeccable. What a thoughtful surprise! The end of month always proposes a challenge as cash on hand ends and bills for the coming month begin — it is a continuous cycle. Your generous gift helps me to purchase food items and free up cash on hand for other necessities. Thank you for thinking of me.”

We also helped Natalie who was diagnosed in 2019 with stage II breast cancer at the age of thirty. She was diagnosed while doing her medical residency program at the local hospital. She is married and has a five-year-old daughter. Her husband is a full-time caregiver to their daughter since he also faces his own health issues. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012. Although It has been a very difficult journey for Natalie, she is committed to use her personal experience with breast cancer to help others and to pay it forward to help those in need.

Since the majority of these patients will continue to receive treatment for the remainder of the year, we will continue to provide support through our various programs. For those, who will be in active treatment in December, they are also going to benefit from Curémonos’ Holiday Cheer Program.

Once again, we are extremely grateful to The Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation for their generous gift and for allowing us to make a difference in the lives of those in need during this very uncertain time.

ASPIRE Heritage Designer Showhouse in Bernardsville, NJ benefits CDBCF

It’s rare to get to see the work of celebrated designers in real life—which is why we love designer showhouses so much. They provide an opportunity for designers to show off their creative chops (often within extremely limited time frames) and for visitors to get up close and personal with interiors. This year, Aspire Design and Home was set to host the Bernardsville Designer Showhouse in New Jersey, to benefit the Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation. The event’s roster of designers had worked hard on transforming the Gothic-meets-Arts-and-Crafts-style parish house of St. Bernard’s church, designed by architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh (best known for New York’s Plaza Hotel and iconic Dakota apartment building), when the coronavirus pandemic forced the showhouse to shutter its doors. Luckily for us, though, the designers are offering an exclusive tour to House Beautiful—and it’s chock-full of great design ideas. Take notes—and, if you feel so inclined, consider a donation to the Foundation, which will miss out on proceeds from the showhouse’s ticket sales.

9 Genius Design Lessons From the Bernardsville Designer Show House…READ MORE >


The Opening Gala of ASPIRE DESIGN and HOME magazine


Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation held its 12th Embrace Hope Gala

CDBCF honors Gina Conti of the Conti Group and The Late Alyssa Small Blatt at Sold-Out Gala


Newark, NJ, November 12, 2019 – The Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation (CDBCF) hosted its 12th annual Embrace Hope Gala on November 1, 2019.  The sold-out event raised funds to purchase a new MRI machine at Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, NJ.  The event was co-chaired by Patty Anagnostis, Annette Fasciano, Patti Gargiulo, and Michele Tedesco. 

Gina Conti and The Conti Group was one of this year’s honorees. Gina joined the Foundation’s advisory board in 2016 and she now actively serves on the Strategic and Fundraising committees. Believing that you truly have everything in life if you have your health is a mantra Gina lives by.  She explains why she is so passionate about making a difference, “The impact the CDBCF has on the community by ensuring all women have access to the appropriate screening, diagnoses, treatment and support necessary to combat breast cancer is tremendously rewarding.” 

The late Alyssa Small Blatt who lost her battle to cancer in 2017 was also honored for her strength, courage, and dignity Alyssa was remembered by her husband and two daughters as her whole family came out to support a cause she was so passionate about even when she was fighting an aggressive cancer. 

Alyssa’s husband Perry Blatt accepted her award and reflected, “My wife came to the Gala two years ago to support this cause even when she was fighting cancer but never complained or let on to anyone that she wasn’t doing well. She didn’t want to take away from the time she cherished with those she loved.” 

Connie Dwyer founder of the Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation, commented, “This magical evening would not be possible without all of the amazing support of those who donate, attend and volunteer. Thank you all for your generous support”.

Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation

Through our sponsored facilities, the Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation serves underprivileged and vulnerable women by ensuring the availability of top-quality breast-health services that include screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care. The Foundation provides financial assistance to programs and needs deeming most crucial to the health and wellbeing of patients and offices collaborative support to provide resources, education, advocacy and empowerment to the women we serve.   To learn more please visit

Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation Media Contact:

Sarah Roberts


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