- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Inspired by the courage of friends and family ravaged by breast cancer, local newswomen and media professionals are putting their competitive instincts aside and working together to raise money and awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Consider the case of Jennifer Kwiatek. Nearly two years ago, she was turning over in bed when suddenly she grimaced in agony. She says she “felt a horrible pain under my armpit. I discovered a nickel-sized lump. I called my doctor and was told that the lump was probably a swollen lymph node from the horrible sinus and chest cold I had at the time.”

Within two months, Miss Kwiatek’s lump had grown to about the “size of a hockey puck. I was then diagnosed with breast cancer.”

Last summer, at age 26, Miss Kwiatek - a project manager at Gannett - underwent a double mastectomy.

Fortunately, as of her last checkup, her cancer is in remission. But Miss Kwiatek says the chemotherapy, reconstructive surgeries and the possibility of infertility, have tested her spirit.

Enter Angie Goff, Miss Kwiatek’s sorority sister in Alpha Omicron Pi at George Mason University and the upbeat traffic anchor for WUSA 9News.

Ms. Goff was deeply moved by Miss Kwiatek’s “journey,” which she describes as her ordeal. So after many “5 a.m.” conversations with her colleague, morning anchor and “Buddy Check 9” creator Andrea Roane, Ms. Goff and Ms. Roane decided to “think pink” (the color of breast cancer awareness) by bringing other women in the news business, more commonly known as “news-babes,” under the same roof for a cocktail party fundraiser to benefit breast-cancer research and education, especially among young women.

The first ever “News-babes Bash for Breast Cancer” will take place May 13 at Lotus Lounge (1420 K St. NW) - and, says Miss Goff, the host committee is a team of on-air rivals.

“Despite all the rumors of competition, every woman I contacted came on board. We have good relationships with other stations. It’s total girl power,” Ms. Goff says of the event that will feature Pamela Brown, News Channel 8; Alison Starling and Cynne Simpson of WJLA-ABC7; Laura Evans and Sue Palka of Fox 5-WTTG; and Lindsay Czarniak and Eun Yang of WRC-NBC4.

WUSA 9NEWS will be represented by Ms. Goff, Ms. Roane, and Anita Brikman.

“I feel deeply compelled to raise money for breast cancer research. It is a disease that every woman has some risk for and it’s important to be an advocate for those that are fighting the battle every day. Even better that I get to join my fellow colleagues for a night of fun while making an impact,” Miss Brown says.

Like Ms. Goff, other “news-babes” became involved with the breast-cancer campaign due to personal experience. “I did lose a very close family friend about five years ago to breast cancer, and I support this event in her honor,” Ms. Starling says.

“Anything we can do as young women in this community to raise money and awareness about breast cancer is an invaluable service.”

Those attending the May 13 event will be asked to make a donation at the door or register for Race for the Cure - a series of 5K runs and fitness walks worldwide that serve as a significant fundraiser in the fight against breast cancer while also celebrating survivors of the disease and memorializing those who have died from it - on June 6. The registration fee is $35

Rebecca Gibson, a spokesperson for Susan G. Komen for the Cure - the Dallas-based group that hosts the race - says that 75 percent of the proceeds from the race benefit community outreach and education programs, and the remaining funds go to research.

Ms. Goff says she doesn’t have a fundraising goal, but is expecting over 400 people to attend the event at Lotus Lounge. For her, the evening’s most important aspect, she explains, is saluting the women - like Miss Kwiatek - on the front lines of the breast cancer fight.

“I believe everything happens for a reason. If my story can help other women, then I am happy to share it,” Miss Kwiatek says.

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