Norma Pfriem Breast Center announces $510,000 in proceeds from June 6 luncheon with Jane Seymour

donna twist jane seymour

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Funds benefit programs for underserved women and their families

BRIDGEPORT, CT (June 21, 2018) – Actress, artist and author Jane Seymour delivered the keynote speech to an audience of nearly 500 guests during the June 6 Rose of Hope Luncheon at the Fairfield County Hunt Club in Westport. The event raised $510,000 to benefit Norma Pfriem Breast Center’s programs for underserved women.

The lead corporate event sponsor of the luncheon was Merrill Lynch, a Bank of America Corporation. Other major sponsors included John and Connie DeMattia and the DeMattia Charitable Foundation, and the Irwin W. and Dorothy M. Nessel Family Foundation.

While she never had breast cancer herself, Seymour said resuscitation after a brush with death from anaphylactic shock taught her a valuable lesson.

“I realized what an incredible gift had been given to me because having life was ten-thousand times more valuable than I even thought it was,” Seymour said. “I realized there are only two things you either take with you or leave behind: the love you’ve shared in life and the difference you made.”

Seymour went on to praise the breast center. “You can’t just have surgery and medication with having the nurturing, understanding and ability to process the journey, and a support group of other people,” she said. “I want to shine a light on what you’re doing and encourage others to contribute any way they can.”

The event also featured a performance by singer Brendan Fletcher from TV’s “The Voice” and presentation of the annual Rose of Hope Award to plastic and reconstructive surgeon Anke Ott Young, MD, for her support of the center and its patients. Dr. Ott Young is the first physician to win the award. Former patient Zineb Ajar praised Dr. Ott Young by video from her current home in Casablanca, Morocco. Zineb was 31 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy.

“There I was with a long life ahead of me and a head full of dreams, but now I was losing my hair, my breasts and a little piece of me,” Zineb said. “Then I met Dr. Ott, an amazing person, very calm and serene. The day before my surgery, she came to my bed, held my hand and spoke to me in a soft voice. She always had the right words to make me feel better.” “Every person at Norma Pfriem Breast Center was as kind as the other,” Zineb continued. I met so many amazing people who went beyond what they needed to do to help me. Today, I’m cancer free.”

“Patients like Zineb and countless others might not have survived breast cancer if not for the philanthropic support of our sponsors and luncheon guests,” said Donna Twist, PhD, executive director, Norma Pfriem Breast Center, and vice president, Development, Bridgeport Hospital Foundation. “And I cannot thank our speaker Jane Seymour enough for joining us to help encourage and inspire our patients, families, staff and donors.”

Twist co-chaired the luncheon with fellow Fairfielders Linda Blackwell and Lynne Taikowski, both members of the center’s President’s Council. Norma Pfriem Breast Center, with locations in Bridgeport, Fairfield and Trumbull, is part of Smilow Cancer Hospital.

Part of Smilow Cancer Hospital, Norma Pfriem Breast Center provides nearly 1,400 uninsured and underinsured women with financial assistance for patient care and educates over 5,000 women and girls about breast cancer risk each year. One of only 300 sites accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), the Center provides a wide range of diagnostic care and treatment at its Bridgeport Hospital, Trumbull and Fairfield locations, including medical oncology, surgical and chemotherapy services, plastic surgery, mammography and radiation therapy, and genetic risk assessment as well as opportunities to participate in clinical trials. The center also provides comprehensive women’s wellness services, including nutrition counseling, massage and Reiki therapy, wig and prosthesis fitting, counseling, yoga, Pilates, naturopathic medicine, and other patient support activities. The Center is a member of the prestigious National Consortium of Breast Care Centers. For more information, call 203-255-5300 or visit

Bridgeport Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health, is a non-profit 501-bed acute care hospital with two campuses (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale New Haven Children's Hospital). Its Bridgeport and Milford Campuses serve patients from across the region. The hospital admits more than 23,000 patients and provides nearly 350,000 outpatient treatments annually. The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital is the only burn center in the state and one of only 64 verified burn centers in the United States. Bridgeport Hospital is committed to providing safe, compassionate and cost efficient care to its patients and the community.

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