Port Richmond vs. breast cancer

The members of the Ladies of Port Richmond say that despite the group’s name, its cause isn’t Port Richmond-specific.

Of course it isn’t — the non-profit, now in its eighth year, crusades for breast cancer research and awareness. During this, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the ladies are in the middle of a very busy part of the year.

On Oct. 14, the group hosted a breakfast buffet at SugarHouse casino, the proceeds of which will benefit breast cancer research at Thomas Jefferson University, Nazareth and Holy Redeemer Hospitals.

Those three hospitals currently receive the proceeds of LOPR’s efforts.

On Oct. 30, LOPR will host, along with Nazareth Hospital, its third annual Ladies Night Out at Richmond Hall, at 2619 E. Indiana Ave. The night will feature dinner and an oncology panel discussion with experts from Nazareth Hospital and the American Cancer Society.

LOPR’s biggest event is its Port Richmond Breast Cancer Walk, which took place on May 20 this year. The walk brings participants through the streets of Port Richmond.

The group’s biggest goal, said LOPR president Mary Louise Leuters, is reaching beyond Port Richmond to encourage people to join the cause.

She said, perhaps, the “Port Richmond” part of the group’s name throws people off, but it’s a reminder of LOPR’s beginnings — she said she simply wanted to give back to her community of more than 40 years when she planned the first breast cancer walk.

A two-time survivor of breast cancer, Leuters said she knows the group could help those affected by the disease who live in other parts of the city.

“We want to have Fishtown and Bridesburg join us,” Leuters said, adding she wants to see more people hitting the pavement for the annual walk. “We need a lot of walkers.”

Lenore Czyzewski, vice president of the group, is also a breast cancer survivor.

“It’s a personal thing people don’t talk about,” Czyzewski said of breast cancer. She said, though, that the group works to change that, and Leuters in particular works to get neighbors involved by simply asking around.

“I met Mary on the street one day, and right off the bat, she got me involved,” Czyzewski said.

The group is an outlet not just for breast cancer survivors and patients, the ladies said, but for anyone who wants to contribute.

Maureen Janda, who helps the group with bake sales and flea markets, has never had breast cancer. She has been diagnosed, though, with lupus.

Leuters said of Janda, “As sick as this woman was, she was always there to help.”

“I struggle like they struggle,” Janda said. “We’re all going through it.”

LOPR hopes neighbors throughout the River Wards and the whole city will get involved for a particular reason — though other national breast cancer efforts are larger, LOPR is tied to the community.

“It’s their friends and neighbors,” Leuters said of the members. “It benefits hospitals in this community.”

Neighbors also should recognize, she said, that LOPR’s activities are cheaper. The Ladies Night Out on Oct. 30 costs $5, and the annual walk costs $30.

“The whole community is great,” Czyzewski said of Port Richmond.

That’s primarily what Leuters said she hopes will encourage other neighborhoods to join LOPR.

“Port Richmond isn’t always what you see on TV,” she said. “There’s good stuff going on here, too.”

For more information or to get involved, visit www.ladiesofportrichmond.com. To register for Ladies Night Out, call 1–866-NAZ-ARET.

Managing Editor Mikala Jamison can be reached at 215–354–3113 or at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.