FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: MILISSA REIERSON
OCTOBER 7, 2005
(615) 741-2257 (O)
 
(615) 308-3705 (C)


State of Tennessee Honors Breast Cancer Survivors
First Lady Andrea Conte Recognizes Employee Survivors at Annual Event

NASHVILLE — In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, First Lady Andrea Conte joined officials from across state government today to pay tribute to Tennessee’s state workers who have survived breast cancer.

More than 100 state employees were honored at the event today at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel at Metro Center. Amy Marsalis with WTVF-TV, Heather Orne with WKRN-TV and Terri Merryman with WSMV-TV were on hand to read the names of the honorees as they accepted a pink rose and certificate from the First Lady and the commissioner or representative from their state department.

“We are here today to recognize this group of individuals who have overcome life’s obstacles and who continue to give of their strength and dedication to the state of Tennessee every day,” said Conte. “These state workers set an example to others, and I am pleased to honor them today.”

This second annual event created by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development was designed in 2004 to honor the department’s own breast cancer survivors during the month of October, recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year, Commissioner Neeley expanded the event to include all state departments.

“Having had cancer myself, I know the challenges one faces when diagnosed with such a tragic disease," said Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley. "Our state employees who have beat breast cancer are true survivors and we are proud to have these strong individuals contribute to the team spirit of all state departments represented here today.”

The event began with an idea from the International Association of Workforce Professionals (IAWP), a professional organization of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Sponsors include the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel, IAWP, the American Cancer Society, St Thomas-Baptist Health Services, Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation, Gilda’s Club, Tennessee Hospital Association, and Cascades Flowers of Sparta. Health care sponsors set up displays at the event to help educate the family members and co-workers of the survivors.

The Tennessee Department of Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program provides clinical breast exams, mammograms and Pap tests for eligible Tennessee women free of charge. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in women in the United States. In Tennessee more than 3,800 cases are found annually. More information about breast cancer awareness, prevention and early detection can be found at www.tennessee.gov/health or www.tennessee.gov/labor-wfd.

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