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The concept for the Community Breast Care Project (CBCP) was formed many years ago from a group of local physicians, health care staff and concerned citizens to develop a support network for those diagnosed with breast cancer.

The organization's purpose then was to educate and network with breast cancer patients as they received treatment for their diagnosis.

Over time, the not-for-profit organization has developed a three pronged approach to connect with newly diagnosed patients in our community — provide educational, financial and emotional support for breast cancer patients and their families.

The board is composed of entrepreneurs, business women, health care providers and breast cancer survivors. I became involved with the organization from its inception for two reasons. As a pathologist, a physician who makes the diagnosis of breast cancer, I thought my insight into the disease process might be useful to patients.

But more importantly, like many people, breast cancer has also touched my life when my sister was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 32. After eight long and difficult years, my sister lost her battle.

My involvement in the organization is thus mostly personal in order to honor her memory.

This organization relies solely on the generosity of individuals and corporations who are also passionate supporters of those with breast cancer. With our fundraisers and donated contributions, the CBCP has provided more than $200,000 in financial support to patients as they undergo treatment.

We honor and support our family and friends with breast cancer by becoming ambassadors for the cause. We continue to march onward until the day a cure is found.

For those interested in supporting or becoming involved with the CBCP, contact our Executive Director Lorie Smith at 573-619-5588.

Dr. Denise Tritz is a pathologist with SSM Health -St. Mary's.

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