CT-BHI Celebrates its 15th Anniversary

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the CT Breast Health Initiative (CT-BHI) and its immensely popular fundraiser “Race in the Park”.

“My mother got breast cancer in the 60’s. I tried not to think about it until the junior league in town was looking for a fundraiser,” said Joyce Bray, board of Directors President of the CT-BHI. “We created the diagnostic health center at the hospital.”

Then “The Race in the Park” began. It lasted for 10 years and then the group broke away to become the CT-BHI.

“We wanted to do research and keep our money in Connecticut,” said Bray. “People who are involved are extremely passionate.”

CT Breast Health Initiative’s mission is to make a significant impact in the quest to find a cure for breast cancer by providing grants to support education and research exclusively in Connecticut.

One hundred percent of the money raised by CT-BHI stays in Connecticut, awarding funding to progressive research programs that have yet to qualify for federal grants.

Since 2005, CT BHI has awarded 3.6 million dollars in grants through the help of generous donors, supporters, and sponsors.

Last year eight grants were given to Middlesex Hospital – Diagnostic Molecular Breast Imaging to Evaluate Inconclusive Mammogram and Ultrasound Findings; Norma F. Pfriem Breast Center – Support Groups for Underserved Patients; The Hospital of Central Connecticut – Integrative Therapies for Breast Health; UConn Health Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center – DigniCap® Cold Cap;  University of Connecticut Health Center – A Multifactorial Approach to Improve Breast Cancer Survivorship Symptom Care; UConn Health Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center – “A Brand New You”; UConn Health Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center – “Hair Salon Collaboration to Improve Breast Health” and Witness Project Connecticut, Inc. – “Educate & Empower”.

This year the group hopes to give out 15 grants in honor of its anniversary.

“This really is who we are and how we make that money is through our biggest fundraiser – The Race in the Park – which probably brings in 65 percent of the money,” said Bray. “There is a golf tournament and smaller grass root donations like car shows, jazzercise and schools like Smalley.”

The CT-BHI is working hard to make 2018 the most exciting year yet and is hosting several special events.

On Feb. 10 there will be a Bridgeport Sound Tigers, AHL affiliate for the NY Islanders, Pink in the Rink Event. There will be a wine tasting and a portion of ticket sales will go towards the CT-BHI as well as donations accepted in jars. It will take place at the Webster Bank Arena.

On Feb. 22 Witchdoctor Brewery Company in Southington will give a portion of sales to the group.

In the next couple of weeks, it will be time to register for the Race in The Park, donate to the cause, become a sponsor, or create a team for the event. A Flash Sale will occur in the first few weeks.

“Race in the Park”, the annual 5k fundraiser, will take place this year on May 12th in New Britain’s historic Walnut Hill Park. Each year, thousands gather to participate in race day festivities and events while honoring survivors, remembering loved ones, celebrating life and most importantly, raising much needed funds to advance the fight against breast cancer in Connecticut.

Lt Gov. Nancy Wyman and Mayor Erin E. Stewart are honorary chairmen. The YWCA will do a warm-up before the race.

One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Over 211,000 new breast cancer cases will be diagnosed each year in the United States including 16,000 men. About 40,000 women die of breast cancer each year.

“People are always looking for ways to help. They can donate $5, $1,000 or $20,000 or whatever so we can support these researchers,” said Bray. “This is all seed money. In the research world what we give out is very small, but these people need to start their projects.”

Everyone can follow the CT-BHI Facebook and Twitter pages to stay up to date on all the activities.

To learn more about the CT Breast Health Initiative, you can visit our website at www.ctbhi.org or give us a call at 860-827-7103.