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      Breast cancer survivors share their stories on BRA Day

      Local Breast Cancer survivors shared their experiences of courage and strength Wednesday to celebrate Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day.

      Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Barone and his skin-care practice Evolv Medical Aesthetics hosted the event in conjunction with National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day. BRA Day is a national initiative with a mission to â??Develop and advance an internationally recognized annual day that promotes awareness and access to post-cancer reconstructive breast surgery.â??

      â??70 percent of women are not informed of the possibility of reconstruction when they have a mastectomy,â?? said Dr. Barone. An estimated 20 percent of women who undergo a mastectomy choose to have reconstructive surgery. Barone continued, â??Itâ??s important to get the word out and empower women with education so they can face their cancer diagnosis and the treatment in the best way possible.â??

      About 30 former patients and their spouses enjoyed pink martinis, hors d'oeuvres, and other refreshments on the patio at Rosieâ??s Italian Grille on N. McCord Road. A 12-minute video presentation followed that featured Jewelâ??s song â??Flower,â?? which she specially recorded as the spokesperson for the inaugural BRA Day.

      Helen Frobase is a former patient who was referred to Dr. Barone by a cousin who works as a registered nurse. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and underwent a breast reconstruction in 2003.

      â??To have the reconstruction is just very confidence-boosting,â?? said Frobase. â??It helps you forget the bad things that youâ??ve gone through.â??

      Frobase praised the â??professional and caringâ?? manner of Dr. Barone and his staff. â??I still go there yearly to see them,â?? she said. â??Theyâ??re like a family.â??

      Do you know someone who has made a difference in the fight against breast cancer? Let us know on our Facebook fanpage .