Changing the Narrative of Cancer

On April 7, 2016, the American Cancer Society (ACS) hosted its annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Relay for Life Most Valuable Partners (MVP) Event at EmblemHealth’s corporate headquarters.

On April 7, 2016, the American Cancer Society (ACS) hosted its annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Relay for Life Most Valuable Partners (MVP) Event at EmblemHealth’s corporate headquarters.

The event honors key Making Strides and Relay for Life partners, sponsors, teams, fundraisers and vendors. It’s a way for the organization to thank all those who support its mission to eliminate cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering through research, education, advocacy and service.

Carla Sterling, Senior Director, Community Engagement, ACS, kicked off the evening expressing immense gratitude to the fundraisers and sponsors that support both Making Strides and Relay for Life. “Celebrating each and every one of you is so incredibly important to us,” said Sterling. “You are the ammunition we need to carry out our mission.”

The ACS is a community group that EmblemHealth works closely with to achieve its goal in providing access to affordable, quality health care for members, communities and government partners.

To speak to the relationship, Ben Messner, Senior Director, Relay for Life, and event host, introduced Scott Breidbart, MD, Chief Clinical Officer, EmblemHealth. “Cancer affects all of us, and we’re very proud of all the work you do in preventing cancer and saving lives,” said Breidbart. “Since your start in 1913, you have raised four billion dollars, so I applaud you.”

Dr. Ali Ameri, AdvantageCare Physicians Hematology and Oncology Department Chair, was also in attendance and discussed the physical and emotional progress support he provides patients throughout the cancer journey.

“This experience is the most challenging, and the care patients receive is vital to recovery,” he explained. “It’s my goal to make sure my patients receive coordinated and individualized care.”

He went on to share his own cancer experience, losing a father, uncle and best friend. “The support ACS gives to us, doesn’t compare to the hope and inspiration it gives to cancer patients’ loved ones and survivors.”

Volunteer, Andrew DiSimone told his inspiring story working with the Hope Lodge, and how he has the opportunity to give back to his community by creating wigs for women. “I get the greatest reward possible,” he said. “When people ask why I do it — I tell them, I do it for the hugs.”

Messner closed the evening thanking the outstanding Making Strides and Relay for Life staff, and said, “I want you all to leave here thinking about what’s possible so we can change the narrative of cancer.”

To learn more about the American Cancer Society and how to get involved in your community, visit