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Aventura Hospital and Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center Go Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Aventura, FL (October 13, 2009) – In recognition of the 25-year anniversary of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the ten-year anniversary celebration of the dedication of the Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center initiated the month of October with two special commemorative programs bringing together colorful groups of volunteers, survivors, and community leaders in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

On Wednesday, October 7th, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center and the Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center hosted a special reception in the hospital’s main lobby and mezzanine. The reception began with a special volunteer performance by students in the Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School Jazz Band. As the students played an uplifting jazz set, guests signed a special commemorative banner and enjoyed pink refreshments, including pink ice cream generously donated by Blue Bell Ice Cream.

Aventura Hospital and Medical Center’s Chief Executive Officer Heather J. Rohan commenced the program by welcoming guests and stressing the importance of early detection. “The American Cancer Society predicts that in 2009, some 192,370 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer,” she stated, “The good news is that if breast cancer is caught early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent. The death rate continues to decrease in the U.S. because of improved treatments, preventive measures, and increased mammography screenings rates.”

Two brave survivors shared testimonials of their own personal triumphs in overcoming their cancer. “In my work, I know cancer,” said Annette Watt, Director of Radiology Services at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, “But it became very personal for me five years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am now blessed with an ability to empathize with patients, and I hope my story will encourage more women to get their mammography screenings early as I did.”

“The most important advice I can give to others is not to give up,” said Vlasta Jarolim, a breast cancer survivor of almost two years, “Get involved, get educated, and get involved! By focusing on the future and helping others, you learn to appreciate life more. I am not afraid anymore!”

Patient care involves comforting the mind and spirit as well as treating the disease. For that reason, Tootsie, Ribbon, Mr. Big, and Pinky, therapy dogs from the International Delta Society and the Humane Center, made a special appearance during the evening, sporting their own pink outfits in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Aventura Hospital and Medical Center’s therapy dogs are specially trained volunteers who visit with patients with their handlers. These caring animals have undergone special evaluations to be eligible to visit and spread joy to patients and their families.

Aventura City Commissioner Billy Joel, Aventura City Commissioner Bob Diamond, Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson, and North Miami Beach Mayor Myron Rosner each attended the special program and presented proclamations on behalf of their municipalities urging women everywhere to get the facts about breast cancer and to take proactive measures to reduce their risks of developing breast cancer.

At the conclusion to the evening, Heather Rohan, Annette Watt and Vlasta Jarolim were joined by, Alice Meltzer and Bonnie Lotterman, two other breast cancer survivors, for a special ribbon cutting ceremony in front of Aventura Hospital’s main fountain. As the Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School Jazz band played another set and the women cut the pink ribbons, the fountain sprang to life with pink water. Guests were then invited out to the front of the hospital where they witnessed that the entire building was bathed in pink lights. Aventura Hospital will remain pink for the entire month of October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Events continued on Friday, October 9th with a special community lecture on Breast Health Awareness highlighting the latest in diagnostic treatment and technologies and featuring special guest speakers from our medical staff, including: Dr. Alanna Harris, Medical Director of the Breast Diagnostic Center at Aventura Hospital; Dr. Martin Keisch, Medical Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Radiation Oncology Department; and Dr. Kip Amazon, Chief of Pathology. Miami-Dade County’s Project Screen, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation were also in attendance to provide information on resources and support.

As part of Aventura Hospital’s ongoing commitment throughout the month of October to spread the message of the importance of early detection and screenings, the hospital will partner next with the City of Hollywood to offer a special “lunch & learn” program on October 29th at the Broward Public Library in Hollywood. Dr. Alanna Harris will lecture on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Aventura Hospital and Medical Center will also conclude Breast Cancer Awareness Month on October 30 with a special luncheon to honor survivors. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact our toll-free consultation line at 1-888-256-7692.

About Aventura Hospital and Medical Center
Aventura Hospital and Medical Center is a 407 acute care medical/surgery facility providing award winning inpatient and outpatient diagnostic, medical, surgical, cardiovascular and cancer services to the communities of northeast Miami-Dade and southeast Broward counties since 1965. Always on the cutting-edge of healthcare technology, Aventura Hospital was the first in Dade County to install the da Vinci S HD Robot and the Elekta Synergy S. The Aventura Hospital and Medical Center Stroke Program was also the first in Dade County to earn The Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center Certification Program Gold Seal of Approval for healthcare quality. The 24-hour Emergency Room consistently maintains an average wait time of less than 10 minutes, and the Cardiac Catheterization Lab’s average STEMI time of less than 60 minutes fulfills the standards set forth by Miami-Dade County EMS. Staffed by more than 700 physicians representing over 50 specialties and 1,300 employees, the hospital meets the healthcare needs of its neighboring communities through continuous program enhancement and service excellence.

About Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center / Aventura Breast Diagnostic Center
The Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center, a 31,500 square-foot center, provides extensive outpatient services, including superior screening, diagnosis, treatment and education capabilities, as well as compassionate research-based care. As an approved American College of Surgeons “Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Program”, the members of the medical staff are board certified in the major medical specialties and participate in clinical research as a requirement. Additionally we provide a full range of diagnostic and treatment services that are available on site, allowing our patients easy access to all aspects of cancer care at one location.

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