Susan G. Komen Florida has announced their 2021 Warriors in Pink. The ten survivors chosen for their passion for defeating breast cancer will serve as ambassadors for Komen and the Susan G. Komen South Florida Virtual 2021 Race for the Cure on January 30, 2021. The thirtieth anniversary of the event will be an engaging online and personal experience in homes and neighborhoods across South Florida to protect the health and safety of participants in the COVID-19 era.
The 2021 Warriors in Pink demonstrate the disease can strike anyone, regardless of family history, age, ethnicity, race or gender. They will carry their message of breast cancer awareness to their own communities and take action collectively to create a groundswell of support in South Florida for Komen’s 360-degree approach to the fight against breast cancer by taking action, focusing on research, connecting people to care, and impacting communities in need.
The 2021 Komen Florida Warriors in Pink are:
- Joanne Ambrosino, 51 from Lake Worth Beach, FL is a three-year breast cancer survivor. She makes herself available to others with breast cancer to offer information and be a source of comfort when they need to express their fears. She believes sharing her experience helps others to know they are not alone. She also advises calling Komen. It was the first thing she did when she received her diagnosis to ask every question she could think of, believing information is power.
- Cassandra “Casey” Bartlett, 38, from Delray Beach, FL, is a four-year breast cancer survivor. She shares with other patients the power of positivity and the importance of a strong support system. To serve as a support system for others, she and her “breasties” have started a WhatsApp group chat and Facebook dinner group with breast cancer survivors. She is proud to have emerged from her fight as a Warrior and an inspiration to others.
- Janie Copes, 71, from Hobe Sound, FL is an eight-year breast cancer survivor. An active tennis player, model, and past president of the Woman’s Club of Stuart, she hopes to be a guide for women in their breast cancer journeys and inspire others to work towards a cure.
- Lisa Fitter, 55, from Wellington, FL was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and again in 2019. Komen helped Lisa with her bills when she didn’t have health insurance and vowed she would do everything she could to help with their mission. Over the years she has lived by that promise. Standing with other women (and men) to tell her story and help raise awareness and funds for breast cancer as a Warrior is the greatest honor for Lisa.
- Christopher Gallo, 49, from Rockledge, FL, is a male six-year breast cancer survivor. As a police officer, he found the physical, mental, and emotional compromises during his recovery challenging, but it motivated him to discover the joy of running, crediting breast cancer to helping him discover his personal physical best. Now he competes in triathlons, half marathons and takes part in 300-mile bike rides and shares his story through inspirational running posts and podcasts, helping others going through breast cancer and increasing awareness that men can also get breast cancer.
- Carole Hart, 65, from Boca Raton, FL, is a five-year survivor of stage two HER2 positive breast cancer. Her fight made her realize she has more strength than she ever thought possible. She has an extensive family that rallied around her more than she ever could have hoped for through what she calls “the Power of the Pink.” She hopes to give back by helping someone else who receives a diagnosis.
- Michelle Maynor Hendricks, 57, from Palm Beach Gardens, FL, is a six-year survivor of triple positive breast cancer. Her treatment regime included a relatively new medication for HER2 positive patients that greatly reduced risk of return, making her see that significant strides are occurring to prolong life thanks to Susan G. Komen and the Race for the Cure’s fundraising efforts. She has grown from keeping her diagnosis private to shouting about the victories by participating in breast cancer support teams, mentorships and educational programs.
- Alicia Palelis, 42, from Pembroke Pines, FL, is a seven-year breast cancer survivor. After a diagnosis at 34-years-old and having a “miracle baby” three years later, she wants to bring hope to other women that there can be life after cancer. Having helped to create breast cancer support groups at two South Florida hospitals, she is paying forward her Warrior experience by helping other women through their journeys.
- Jessica Patykula, 39, from Jupiter, FL, hopes her story inspires young mothers, and young women in general. She wants women to know that cancer doesn’t discriminate based on your age, ethnicity or gender. She was a young, healthy, and active 37-year-old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It can happen to anyone.
- Lisette Usborne, 55, from Lake Worth, FL, is a metastatic forever fighter and thriver six years after her breast cancer diagnosis. Until recently, she raced with the Lighthouse Dragons dragonboat team, and had served as captain. She was an inspiration to her team as she encouraged her fellow breast cancer survivors and their supporters with songs and chants and overall positivity, so that others could see that she could still participate, even with Stage IV metastatic cancer. She hopes that her story may help calm and inspire women who are afraid of their cancer metastasizing.
The 2021 Warriors in Pink will share their experiences with the community throughout the year and have a special role during the Susan G. Komen South Florida Virtual 2021 Race for the Cure on January 30, 2021.
“The personal triumphs these women and men have realized on their breast cancer journeys is nothing short of amazing,” said Sean Gross, Susan G. Komen Florida Executive Director. “As Warriors, they are doing in their own communities what Komen strives to do all across world—take action, connect with others, and impact lives.”
To learn more about the Race for the Cure and Warriors in Pink, visit komen.org/race.
About Susan G. Komen®
Susan G. Komen® is the world’s leading nonprofit breast cancer organization, working to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Komen has an unmatched, comprehensive 360-degree approach to fighting this disease across all fronts and supporting millions of people in the U.S. and in countries worldwide. We advocate for patients, drive research breakthroughs, improve access to high-quality care, offer direct patient support and empower people with trustworthy information. Born out of a promise between two sisters, Susan G. Komen remains committed to supporting those affected by breast cancer today, while tirelessly searching for tomorrow’s cures.