Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Photo credit: Bob Dumas
POUND RIDGE, N.Y. - Breast cancer survivor Rica Mendes, a longtime Pound Ridge resident who currently resides in South Salem, recently had the opportunity to join 500 people from around the world to discuss the ongoing global fight against cancer.
Mendes, a leader for the cancer-awareness and service group LIVESTRONG, which was founded by Lance Armstrong, met in Austin, Texas with LIVESTRONG partners, advisors and constituents. She advocated for the 28 million around the world living with cancer and brought awareness about cancer survivor services to the Westchester area.
“As a LIVESTRONG leader, I’m always organizing local events like the upcoming Rock the Ride and Run on Sunday, April 29 in Pound Ridge that brings people together to raise funds for the Foundation," Mendes said. “We try to raise awareness of the services [LIVESTRONG] provides to anyone affected by cancer and help address the needs of cancer survivors at home and around the world.”
Mendes said the Austin event was not only like a family reunion, but it allowed the members to “plug back into the bigger picture and to learn more about what LIVESTRONG is doing in 2012 and the future.”
At the State of the Foundation lunch, participants listened to a speech from Doug Ulman, the group’s president and CEO, and were then surprised with a visit from Armstrong. The renowned cyclist and cancer survivor talked about what LIVESTRONG has planned at the Foundation for 2012, which includes implementing international anti-stigma campaigns.
“The opportunity for all of us to meet face to face with one another is rare, and we embraced it,” Mendes said. “To be able to engage with LIVESTRONG staff, as well as veteran Leaders and fundraisers, social media influencers and our partners was invaluable. It’s the first time that we were able to workshop as a group and I can’t wait to do it again next year.”
Mendes said she now feels even more prepared and equipped to work for those touched by cancer in the Westchester and Fairfield areas.
“In addition to programs like LIVESTRONG at the Y, which was just approved for the Wilton YMCA, LIVESTRONG-supported programs are just as strong for the family members who support the cancer fighter,” she said. “Camp Kesem (at Columbia University), for example, provides a free week of recreation and support to the children of cancer fighters. There are so many fantastic resources that are becoming more and more available and I look forward to helping connect cancer fighters with all that LIVESTRONG has to offer.”
The foundation provides help to individuals and families facing cancer by phone atonline and in person at the LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Center in Austin. Services are free of charge.,