Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Francine's Friends Remembered as One of The Lutheran Foundation's 25 Stories

To celebrate its silver anniversary, The Lutheran Foundation is sharing 25 stories from its first 25 years — and Francine's Friends is one of them.

The website says "When our organization was first born, it grew out of a legacy of caring for the physical health needs of our community. In fact, the money that paved the way for The Lutheran Foundation came from the proceeds of the sale of the original Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne in 1995." 

"Our goal is to help everyone in the 10-county area that we serve to feel their best, in all aspects of their lives. We believe that should include spiritual, mental and physical wellness."

The story summary goes on to say:

2004 - Francine's Friends
"Francine’s Friends is a 40-foot mobile mammography unit that was the first of its kind in northeast Indiana, staffed by Parkview Regional Cancer Center and Breast Diagnostic Center and funded by The Lutheran Foundation and numerous community partners. This unusual concept came about through the friends of Francine Schubert, a beloved member of the community whose exuberance and commitment to important causes was an inspiration to many. After she succumbed to breast cancer, her friends determined to honor the passion she brought to everything she did by making mammograms readily available to women in the community, regardless of their ability to pay."

Read the entire story summary here.

Congratulations to The Lutheran Foundation in celebrating 25 years of community partnership, and for furthering its mission to educate, equip and provide resources for individuals who are struggling with spiritual, mental and physical wellness — looking up and seeing beyond.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Francine's Friends Receives $1,000 Donation from Fort Wayne Metro USBC Auction

The Fort Wayne Metro USBC recently held a gift basket auction and presented a check for $1,000 to Francine’s Friends at its annual meeting on Saturday, March 13, 2021.  

"The fight against breast cancer has been foremost in our minds for many years due to several board members experiencing this dreadful disease,” explained Christina D. Weaver, USBC Association Manager. "I hope in some way these funds that we donated will be of assistance to those in need.  We thank you for all the work that Parkview does to administer the Francine’s Friends Mammography Fund.” 

“Francine’s Friends is so grateful this donation,” said Marita Dwight-Smith, Director of Francine’s Friends Mobile Mammography. "Especially now, since so many are having financial difficulty due to COVID. This donation will go a long way toward allowing women in our community to receive a mammogram that otherwise would not be able to due to the loss of healthcare insurance and lack of affordably.”

The mission of Francine’s Friends is to make early detection of breast cancer available to every woman in Fort Wayne and the surrounding counties, regardless of their ability to pay.

Individual donations and annual events help raise funds to cover the health care services of the mobile mammography coach and the actual cost of providing mammograms.  These funds ensure Francine’s Friends Mobile Mammography can continue to bring 3D mammography to where women are: area businesses, organizations, health fairs, and other sites across northeast Indiana. 

To learn more or to make a donate, visit

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Thank you to those who have generously donated to Francine's Friends Mobile Mammography

Your gift makes a difference in the lives of women in our community by providing screening mammograms to those who might not have access due to the lack of insurance, funds, transportation, or other barriers.

Since its inception in 2005, the mobile mammography coach has screened more than 48,500 women, visited more than 3,300 unique business, and funded more than 16,800 mammograms. Thank you again for your support of Francine's Friends patients, their families, and your community. Your generosity heals!

If you have not done so, please join us in the fight against breast cancer by making a donation today. Through your generosity, the coach can continue to bring 3D mammography to area businesses, organizations, health fairs, and other sites across northeast Indiana. YOU will make it possible for even more women to receive this life-saving service.  

Donate today

Monday, November 2, 2020

More Than Just A Pretty Plate...

Since 2002, over $5.5 million has been distributed by the Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust (IBCAT) through competitively awarded grants to organizations throughout Indiana for innovative projects for breast cancer screening. 

Francine’s Friends mobile mammography coach is a recipient of this grant funding.

IBCAT grants are funded through the Indiana breast cancer license plate and other donations, allowing them to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars each
year for breast cancer screening, diagnostic, and support programs throughout Indiana.

Click here to learn more!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Friend to Friend...

Good Afternoon FRIENDS — 

As we kick off the Francine’s Friends virtual campaign, I wanted to reach out to you to tell you that the coach has been busier than ever in recent months and has found ways to adapt during the COVID pandemic.  While we had to shut down due to safety in April and May, we were back doing screenings six days a week as of June 1st.  Despite having to cancel this year’s lunch with friends, we can still come together to support this amazing program that has helped thousands of women over the last 15 years receive a lifesaving screening.
On a personal note, I can share that it was seven years ago that my friend Barb A’Hearn invited me to my first Francine’s Friends Luncheon. What was ironic was that exactly a year later on October 21st, 2014, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer.  In just a year, what was deemed as dense tissue at last year’s mammogram, had become cancerous. With two siblings having had cancer at age 20 and at age 45, I was hit especially hard by the diagnosis. Together, with friends, I would get through it. Barb was there at my appointments knowing from experience as a two time breast cancer survivor that I would need an advocate and a friend by my side. She agreed to go with me to doctor’s appointments, share her experiences and even stayed with me for an additional surgery which she insisted no one but  Dr. “I-pod” perform.  Through four rounds of chemo and four surgeries to follow, I would find that inner strength to keep fighting and would now enter post treatment life.  I both loved and hated my new very short hair, and would now focus on preventing a reoccurrence and reflecting on the lessons learned during this journey.
What I can share is that friends are what gets us through breast cancer. Since my diagnosis, I have had four close friends be diagnosed at various stages. My friend Ann, who was told she had no risk, at age 45 would end up being diagnosed in stage 2. Over the last three years she would have eight reconstructive surgeries. I was there for each one of them because that is what girlfriends do.  While we struggle to understand why one in eight of us will be diagnosed, all I know is that we all play it forward by sharing information and helping guide the way for friends with so many questions.  What I learned from Barb, I passed on to friends like Ann.  Together, we made life better for each other and together, those of us who find it important to advocate for others, will make a lifesaving impact on women who need mammograms, but face barriers to receiving their annual screening.

How can you help support Francine’s Friends this year as you have in the past? 

Use the Parkview Foundation peer to peer fundraising link:
Use your Facebook page using this link and create your own fundraiser to share with your friends.
Share this link with your circle of influence and show your support:
Campaign Updates:
Last week, the first of three emails sharing the impact of the coach went out. This week’s email will share the courageous story of Vicki Torres so look for that on Thursday. All emails will not only share the impact, but provide an opportunity to give through a donate button.
Join us!
Marita Dwight Smith, Executive Director of Francine's Friends, will be hosting a Zoom call on October 29th at 6 p.m. so that we can connect with this long-time group of friends and hear how COVID has impacted screenings region wide. 

If you would like to join us, please email me and let me know and I will send you the link.
Looking forward to connecting with each of you. 

 Cheers to FRIENDS!

Denise Andorfer
Director of Leadership Gifts
Parkview Cancer Institute
10622 Parkview Plaza Drive | Fort Wayne, IN | 46845
Office: 11050 Parkview Circle Drive I Fort Wayne, IN I 46845
Office (260) 266-6618 | Cell (260) 450-5214 | Fax (260) 266-7799

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Breast Cancer Awareness Month


It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month and what better way to celebrate than to share the important work of Francine’s Friends mobile mammography coach! Although we are not able to come together this year during the annual Francine’s Friends Lunch with Friends event, it is important that we share the mission of Francine’s Friends and the need to make early detection of breast cancer available to every woman in surrounding areas by providing convenient and private 15-minute screenings to women over the age of 35, whether insured or uninsured. Donations in support of Francine’s Friends provide women in northeast Indiana with:


This October we are honoring and remembering a very special survivor - Cathy Fitzgerald. As a astute business woman, philanthropic community leader, and life-long learner, mentor, volunteer, Cathy dedicated her 40-plus-year career and personal life to making herself better, her community better, and making an impact on everyone she knew.

Cathy was one of the initial all-volunteer board members in 2005 when a group of friends came together to form Francine’s Friends. Like Francine, her indefatigable approach to living was an inspiration and once she committed to supporting a community event, there was never any doubt of its success. Cathy was a board member for Francine’s Friends until 2017, serving on the governance committee and events committee.

As a survivor herself, Cathy shared her perspective as a celebrated survivor and featured model at the annual October Lunch with Friends fundraiser in 2013. Cathy was diagnosed in 2003 with stage 3 breast cancer; and then again in 2017. On January 25, 2020, Cathy’s 60th birthday, Fort Wayne Mayor Thomas C. Henry proclaimed the day as Cathy Fitzgerald Day. Cathy lost her battle with breast cancer on March 19, 2020.


Watch past sessions by clicking the titles below:

Your donation is vital to the continued success of the mobile mammography coach. A gift of $170 will provide a mammogram to a woman in need. Even if you are unable to make a gift of this amount, your donation will allow us to provide the necessary screenings and continue to save lives through early detection of breast cancer.
Your generosity heals!