“I’m walking the Pink Runway to thank the specialists at the Maimonides Breast Center for saving my life.”
Diane Abbatantuono is a three-time breast cancer survivor, and is grateful to Dr. Patrick Borgen for saving her life. She has her two biggest supporters in the audience this evening — her daughter, Kristin, and husband of 47 years, Frank. Diane is also a proud grandmother of two adorable grandkids, Francesca and Joseph. She enjoys cooking and spending time with family. Diane also attributes her triumph over breast cancer to her strong faith in God. She’s thrilled to be walking the Pink Runway tonight.
“I’m walking the Pink Runway because I want to encourage young women to do regular self-exams — early detection is so important in winning this fight.”
Three years ago, at age 31, Marwa was diagnosed with breast cancer after seeking a second opinion from Dr. Borgen at the Maimonides Breast Center. Marwa is grateful to her 14 family members, with whom she lives, for their love and support throughout her battle.
When Marwa isn’t shopping and following the latest fashion trends, she’s busy taking classes to complete her GED certificate.
“I’m walking the Pink Runway to show everyone that you can do it if you believe and have faith!”
Boblyn Arthur is thrilled to pursue her modeling passion at the Pink Runway Fashion Show. She modeled professionally for many years, and looks forward to walking again, but this time with fellow survivors. Boblyn’s strong faith and church community guided her through the difficult journey. Boblyn is grateful to her husband, three children and pastor who have supported her every step of the way.
“I’m walking the Pink Runway to honor all of the women currently battling breast cancer.”
Brooklyn native Virginia Cutrone is a proud, five-year breast cancer survivor. She is happily married with two sons, and enjoys dancing, practicing yoga and spending time with her family.
Virginia is grateful to her friends and family for their love and support throughout her diagnosis and treatment.
“I met a lot of other survivors on this journey, and I always offer them advice and guidance,” Virginia explains. “It brings back so many memories of my own experiences. I want to remind other survivors that they aren’t alone in this battle.”
Virginia thanks her specialists, Drs. Charusheela Andaz and Lloyd Gayle, for their amazing work and for helping her to regain her confidence. She emphasizes another reason for walking the Pink Runway – to honor the phenomenal support of the Maimonides Breast Center staffers and physicians.
“I’m walking the Pink Runway for me. I would’ve never done this before my diagnosis. But, I’m lucky to be thriving on the other side of this terrible disease.”
Breast Cancer survivor Ellen Dominianni is well-known around the Maimonides Breast Center for her vibrant smile and sparkling tiara. Ellen elegantly adorned her tiara during all of her chemotherapy treatments. She’s modeling with her tiara tonight, too!
Ellen is happily married with two children, and is a nurse at the Hospice of New York. Last year, she returned to school to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in creative writing. Ellen was diagnosed with breast cancer while pursuing her passion of poetry and short-story writing. Ellen continued with schooling throughout treatment because it provided a respite from her battle with cancer.
“I’m walking the Pink Runway to give myself and others strength. I love to make people smile, and I’ll put lots of smiles on people’s faces as I walk down the runway!”
Modeling in the Pink Runway Fashion Show has come full-circle for breast cancer survivor Barbara Gardner. Barbara professionally modeled for many years, and began pursuing the ambition at the age of 12.
Barbara is a proud mother, soon-to-be grandmother and 20-year breast cancer survivor. She has been involved in her Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn community for many years, organizing fashion shows and talent competitions for teens. Barbara is thrilled to walk the runway once again. She wants to show everyone that life doesn’t stop when you’re diagnosed with breast cancer – you can still pursue your dreams!
“I’m walking the Pink Runway to show that chemotherapy doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience. I’m an example for others who have apprehensions about chemotherapy.”
Leslie German was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2016. As a flight attendant, she’s always on-the-go and loves traveling the world. She enjoys visiting new places and learning from her unique travels. Leslie is grateful to her Breast Center physician, Dr. Victoria Forte, who was by her side throughout treatment.
“I’m walking the Pink Runway to show everyone that there’s always hope when you have faith – regardless of a cancer diagnosis.”
Colia Gibbs is a 23-year cancer survivor, and has been a patient at Maimonides for more than 10 years. She credits her strong faith to a deeply-rooted belief system and supportive church family. She enjoys traveling, and cruising around the world with her sister. Colia is very close to her sister, and the two are looking forward to their next trip.
“I’m walking the Pink Runway to highlight the amazing work of Drs. Patrick Borgen and Lloyd Gayle. They were with me every step of the way.”
Judy Goldberg vividly recalls the day she received news that would change her life forever — January 25, 2017. Judy was diagnosed with a rare cancer that affects only 1-3% of breast cancer patients. With a strong family history of cancer, Judy immediately underwent treatment at the Maimonides Breast Center.
Judy meticulously documented her breast cancer journey and was extremely open about the diagnosis. She detailed every step of her treatment with photos and notes. Those notes and photos turned into a website, where Judy blogs about her experiences and shares helpful tips. Her website is an invaluable resource for other survivors.
“You are your own best advocate,” Judy says. “The sooner the cancer is caught, the sooner your road to recovery can begin.”
“I’m walking the Pink Runway to reintroduce myself to the world and come out of my shell. I want to believe what I keep saying – I’m really okay!”
Miranda Morris found a lump under arm last year, and went to the Maimonides Breast Center for help. Despite the health issue she was facing as a working mom, Miranda adopted a positive attitude to remain strong for her young son.
Miranda praises Dr. Donna-Marie Manasseh and Lynette Leepak, and refers to them as, “her angels.” She encourages other survivors to laugh and stay positive. “Even if you can’t sing, keep singing,” Miranda says.
“I’m walking the Pink Runway to give other survivors hope, and to emphasize that we can beat this with early detection and treatment.”
Amal Omar is a proud mother of four children who’s trying to break the stigma about breast cancer within her culture. Before her diagnosis, Amal had a career in news journalism.
She is currently undergoing treatment at the Maimonides Breast Center, and travels back and forth from New Jersey to Brooklyn for her care. Amal frequently visits Saudi Arabia, where two of her children are in school. Battling breast cancer can be very hard for women in Amal’s culture. The diagnosis often makes women feel inadequate and lose confidence. Amal wants to raise awareness about the lack of health education in her community, which leads to a close-minded view of diseases like breast cancer. “Women avoid getting things checked out because they don’t have accurate health information,” Amal notes. “Get checked if you notice something, and get checked early!”
“You have to be strong to deal with this,” Amal explains. “I’m very fortunate to have a resilient family support system by my side.”
Margery Baker Riker
“I’m walking the Pink Runway as a special thank you to Drs. Patrick Borgen and Lloyd Gayle!”
Three-time Emmy Award Winner Margery Baker Riker has been a television news producer for over 40 years. She was involved in producing special news coverage all around the world – including Russia, Vienna, Paris, Rome, Argentina, Poland, Germany, Malta, Iceland, Japan and China.
She has covered numerous U.S. presidential campaigns and reported from 16 political conventions. Margery has recently been producing travel documentaries for PBS. She is on the Board of Directors at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. Margery also works as a volunteer for Bottomless Closet, an organization that helps underserved women find jobs.
Margery is happily married to Stephen Riker, and they have six grandchildren.
“I’m walking the Pink Runway for all women who come through the doors of the Maimonides Breast Center, and to give them the support they need to get through this.”
A Trustee of Maimonides Medical Center, is the owner of Park Avenue Building and Roofing Supplies LLC. She also serves as Chair of The Gilbert Rivera Charitable Foundation, established to continue the legacy of charitable giving that her late husband Gilbert began as a leader in business and in his community. In November 2011, Erminia dedicated the magnificent Gilbert Rivera Pavilion at the Maimonides Cancer Center, which houses cancer services that include gynecologic oncology, colorectal surgery, urology and the Breast Center.
We are thrilled to honor Erminia for her vision and leadership at this year’s Pink Runway.
“I’m walking the Pink Runway to represent younger women with metastatic disease. You can still thrive and live your life with a Stage IV diagnosis.”
Los Angeles native Stephanie Seban was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at 31 years old, and has no family history of the disease. When doctors presented her with slim survival rates, Stephanie was determined to beat the odds.
For the first three years of treatment, Stephanie was misdiagnosed with a different form of breast cancer. Her chemotherapy treatments were ineffective and health continued to deteriorate during that time. Stephanie sought the help of Dr. Patrick Borgen, who she calls, “the captain that turned her ship around.” Stephanie thanks Dr. Borgen for being among the reasons she’s here today.
When she received the news of her diagnosis, Stephanie was forced to leave her teaching career to undergo immediate treatment. Throughout her journey, Stephanie continued teaching in a different way by blogging about her personal experiences. She created a website dedicated to educating young women with metastatic disease.
“I’m walking the Pink Runway because the glass is always half full…and you bet I’m going to drink from it!”
Susan Tenner is what many would call an “optimist.” She looks at life with great enthusiasm and finds much joy in the little things – like spending time with her teenage daughters, sitting by the lake with her incredibly supportive husband, or the feeling of accomplishment after a good jog.
Susan’s diagnosis came at the same time she began co-founding, opening and running a community-based charter school. The Brooklyn Urban Garden Charter School opened just two weeks after Susan’s mastectomy. Now the school is in its fifth year, and so is Susan’s cancer fight.
“People say I’m full of life. I guess I was made with a little extra spark to pull me through Stage III breast cancer.”
Hu Su Xian
“I’m walking the Pink Runway to inspire other patients like myself to be more open about breast cancer and bring light to this disease.”
Hu Su Xian is a breast cancer survivor facing a unique challenge in her community – a cancer diagnosis is often stigmatized and not openly addressed. She wants to show that cancer affects the Asian community, too. Hu is hopeful that her modeling will give strength and support to other Asian women battling breast cancer. Walking down the runway will be a very empowering moment for Hu – she wants to prove to herself and others that she can do this!