New London, CT, September 9, 2013: “When I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, it changed my life,” shares Vanassa J. Sebastian, Mrs. CT America 2012. “It gave me another focus in my life, to step up my goal to inspire and advocate for other women, especially those with breast cancer.” Sebastian is the first Honorary Chair for the TBBCF’s 8th Annual Walk Across Southeastern CT, the non-profit’s main fund-raiser of the year. “My message is that women are strong, capable and in control of their lives, even when they are diagnosed with cancer. I am living proof of that.”
The year before she competed and won the Mrs. CT America crown, Sebastian’s life became uncertain when she received the diagnosis. With the support of her family and friends, she made it through that difficult first year of treatment, and she faced the physical and mental challenge of both competing in the pageant and seizing life with an even higher level of commitment. As a survivor and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, she has a special report with cancer patients and their families. She is able to personally connect with breast cancer patients and survivors through her profession and community involvement (Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Dress for Success and several women’s health organizations). Acutely aware of the body-mind connection, Sebastian practices a healthy lifestyle and strives to be a role model for breast cancer survivors. “I want to be able to share my experiences and inspire other women that they too can get through this as long as they remain positive, believe and have faith.” She brings this commitment to her new role as the TBBCF Honorary Walk Chair.
It is estimated that there will be more than 3,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in CT in 2013, and that almost 500 will die from the disease. Death rates for breast cancer have steadily decreased in women since 1989 due to progress in earlier detection, improved treatment and possibly decreased incidence as a result of declining use of hormone replacement therapy.
TBBCF’s 8th annual Walk Across Southeastern CT will be held on Saturday, October 5th. Funds raised from this event are 100% directed to fighting breast cancer. Since 2006, 24 scientists have been awarded $2.4 million in grants for breast cancer research. Opportunities to volunteer, walk as individuals or teams, will contribute to this cause. There is a walk to suit everyone’s level of ability and interest. Walks include a quarter marathon (6.55 miles), a half marathon (13.1 miles) or their signature full marathon (26.2 miles). Opening ceremonies begin at 6:30 am at Saybrook Point, Old Saybrook, with feet on the pavement at 7:00 am. The walk is along the scenic route along the shoreline through Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, and East Lyme ending at Camp Harkness in Waterford, where Sebastian and others will participate in the closing ceremonies.
“Meanwhile, look for a team of walkers wearing pageant crowns, as that will be my team,” says Sebastian.To register to walk or volunteer, or to contribute to a registered walker, please visit www.tbbcf.com or call 860-245-0402. TBBCF is a local non-profit committed to fighting breast cancer by donating 100% of gross fundraising dollars directly to breast cancer research. Researchers from such organizations as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have benefited from the funds raised by this walk.
Vanassa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 860-460-7085.