PARSIPPANY — Susan G. Komen North Jersey announced that Dun & Bradstreet, Steven Bitterman, Principal, Gensler and Summit Medical Group will be recognized at its 2019 Pink Tie Party on Friday, March 22, at The Grove in Cedar Grove. This year’s signature event, chaired by Michael Karlis of Bridgewater will also feature special guest Amy Robach, Co-Anchor for ABC News’ 20/20 and author of The New York Times bestseller BETTER. Komen North Jersey is delivering a strong message of HOPE with this year’s fundraiser—hope that the funds they raise for life-saving community programs and breakthrough national research will help get them closer to their vision, a world without breast cancer.
“This year’s honorees all have a long-standing commitment to the community and to Komen North Jersey,” says Kelly E. Nagle, Executive Director of Komen North Jersey. “Each has consistently demonstrated a level of engagement that is remarkably comprehensive and multi-faceted. They not only support our mission financially, but they embrace our mission by infusing a passion for the fight against breast cancer within their corporate and personal networks. We are deeply grateful for all they do to help us bring hope to the women and men in our communities.”
As Co-Anchor for ABC News’ 20/20 and Breaking News Anchor for Good Morning America, Amy Robach has traveled nationally and internationally to cover major news events, and has interviewed countless newsmakers and celebrities. But the most difficult and illuminating journey of her life was when she said the words “I have breast cancer” on live television in November of 2013. Just weeks earlier, her producers had asked her to get an on-air mammogram to highlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Her first instinct was to say no—there was no history of breast cancer in her family, and she was only forty years old. She agreed, realizing that she might save a life, but never imagined that the life she saved would be her own: tests revealed malignant tumors in her breast, and she immediately underwent a bilateral mastectomy, followed by six months of chemotherapy treatments.
In her New York Times bestseller BETTER: How I Let Go of Control, Held On To Hope, and Found Joy in My Darkest Hour, Robach speaks candidly about how her illness affected her family life and her marriage, tapped into her deepest fears and strengths, and transformed her in ways she never could have imagined. With honesty, humility and humor, Amy connects with those who have struggled with any kind of sudden adversity, and shares valuable wisdom about the power of the human spirit to endure the worst—and find the way to better. “When I finished my last round of chemo, I realized that I was joining the ranks of 2.8 million U.S. women who are breast cancer survivors,” says Robach. “I plan on living each day to the very fullest, thankful and grateful. And I want to encourage all the women and men out there who are still in the thick of it, who have yet to fight this fight: you can do it; you can get through this, one step at a time.”
Corporate Honoree Dun & Bradstreet first came on board as a partner for the Affiliate’s annual Race for the Cure in 2010. Since then, the company’s engagement has grown in its depth and commitment to the Komen North Jersey mission. They have provided significant financial support for the Affiliate’s major fundraisers, and the level of participation by their employees in their charitable endeavors is exceptional. Their Race team, For My Daughter, created in honor of Dun & Bradstreet employee Marcy Prendes, a 10-year breast cancer survivor, has been one of the top Race teams every year, and employees, friends and family members have collectively raised more than $150,000. The Company’s employees also volunteer on Komen North Jersey committees and participate in numerous events including the annual Pink Tie Party (for which Dun & Bradstreet has been a major sponsor since 2015).
Michele Caselnova, Chief of Staff to the President and Chief Communications Officer for Dun & Bradstreet, has been a member of the Board of Trustees since July 2013, serving as Vice President in 2016, Interim President in 2017, and currently as President. She also served as the Pink Tie Party Co-Chair in 2017 and 2018. In addition to its direct support of Komen North Jersey’s work in local communities, Dun & Bradstreet embraces the importance of breast health education and offers Breast Health Education events in the workplace on a regular basis. “Dun & Bradstreet and its employees have happily supported Susan G, Komen North Jersey with time, talent and fund raising to further life-saving community programs and breakthrough national research,” says Caselnova. “We thank our employees for their support and for joining the Komen North Jersey team on its journey to realize a world without breast cancer.”
This year’s Medical Honoree, Summit Medical Group, New Jersey’s premier multi-specialty medical practice, provides patients with more convenient and affordable care for every stage of life with all ancillary services, including wellness, cancer treatment, disease management, surgical services, behavioral health and management and support for chronic conditions. SMG has sponsored a Komen North Jersey Race for the Cure team since the Race’s inception in 2008.
Over the years, SMG’s team has become the Race’s largest, boasting more than 100 participants in 2018. SMG has made significant contributions to Komen North Jersey with support for the Race for the Cure, the annual Pink Tie Party, and the Women’s Wellness Expo. They also demonstrate a deep and genuine commitment to the communities they serve, providing access to breast care, treating patients every day, and helping people fight breast cancer.
With the talent and dedication of its providers and a new state-of-the art 130,000-square-foot outpatient cancer facility in Florham Park, SMG is committed to bringing the highest level of cancer care to patients in northern New Jersey. SMG provides comprehensive cancer care including medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, interventional radiology, infusion, imaging and access to clinical trials. “Over the years, Summit Medical Group has mobilized teams to raise significant funds for breast cancer,” says Jeffrey Le Benger, MD, Chairman and CEO of Summit Medical Group. “We share Komen North Jersey’s goals to bring attention to the fight against breast cancer, celebrate breast cancer survivorship and honor those who have battled courageously.”
Individual Honorees are chosen for their exceptional volunteerism and enduring commitment to the mission of the Komen North Jersey organization. This year’s Individual Honoree, Steven Bitterman, Studio Director, Principal and Northeast Regional Life Sciences Practice Leader for Gensler in Morristown, has a very personal connection to breast cancer: his wife Robin is a seven-year breast cancer survivor. Bitterman says that his wife’s diagnosis redefined the fight against breast cancer for him. His company, Gensler, had launched their first Susan G. Komen Rally for the Cure golf tournament in 2006, but had taken a hiatus from the event prior to Bitterman joining the company in 2009. When he heard about it, he advocated strongly to bring back their Rally for the Cure. “It wasn’t just because I’m a golfer,” says Bitterman. “My wife is a survivor, and I believe that my grandmother also had breast cancer. I wanted to do something to make a difference; this disease affects so many people.”
Since the first Gensler Rally for the Cure, the company has produced nine events that to date have raised nearly $340,000 for the two New Jersey Susan G. Komen Affiliates. Bitterman encourages staff, clients, friends and family to participate, and the event continues to grow. Last year, there were more than 200 registered participants and the event raised a record $65,000. “I’m truly honored to be recognized,” says Bitterman. “But I don’t do this alone; it has become an incredible team effort. Everyone in the company stands behind it because we are all affected by breast cancer in one way or another.”
The honorees, of course, are the “stars” of the evening, but it wouldn’t be a party without the requisite fun-factor and fabulous opportunities for giving. Elegant cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be a prelude to an exquisitely-prepared dinner, intermingled with a lot of dancing to the sounds of Tribeca Rhythm and DJ Sizzling Sounds. But the real essence of the Pink Tie Party is about giving generously, and there will be lots of chances for guests to “be part of the cure.” There’s an abundance of coveted silent auction items, and pre-event bidding is available online at bidpal.net/ptp for those who would like to get a jump on those bids.
All in all, it promises to be a memorable, “feel good” kind of night, thanks in no small part to the generosity of this year’s Pink Tie Party sponsors: Dun & Bradstreet and TAPinto, (Funding the Cures), Summit Medical Group and RWJBarnabas Health (Partner in the Promise), Atlantic Health, C.R. Bard, Inc., Carol Delia & Kate Flannery, The Harbison Family, Pfizer, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Wakefern Food Corporation/ShopRite Supermarkets (Pledging Hope).