Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011 "Lunch with Friends" Filled with "LIFE" and Francine's Friends!

The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Expo 1 was filled with the chatter of friends — Francine's Friends — on Friday, October 14, 2011. The 7th annual event fundraiser to help raise funds for women in northeast Indiana to receive life-saving mammography services also included an exciting short film premiere, medical updates, a survivor reunion, two new survivor makeovers, and a wonderful time with friends!

Long-time support and friend Linda Jackson, Indiana News Center, welcomed everyone to the event and then introduced our honorary emcees for this year — Robyn Scott and Colleen Murray, of Chicago's Second City and real-life best friends. Robyn and Colleen graciously agreed to host this year's event and introduce the premiere of "Life with Francine's Friends."  This year's luncheon attendees were able to ride along with best friends “Jill” and “Karen” as they learned more about “life with Francine’s Friends” after Karen gives Jill a mammogram appointment on the coach for her birthday. Francine’s Friends and “friends” all help equip Karen with ammunition about early detection and mammography screening in an attempt to help convince Jill to "get on the coach."

The video was created locally by PUNCH FILMS, in association with Francine’s Friends, Inc. and Emley Design Group, and was produced by PUNCH's John Cuneo and Derek Devine.  PUNCH FILMS has just been nominated for not one, but TWO Emmys for its "don't txt and drive" PSA spots.

"Life with Francine's Friends" stars Scott and Murray, along with Francine’s Friends founders, partners, board members, funders, sponsors, table captains, community supporters, breast cancer survivors and a host of other “friends” and was filmed locally at Toscani's Pizzeria, Fort Wayne Urban League, Scotts Foods and TrendSetters Hair Design. Scott and Murray are also co-writers and star in their own pilot "Darcy and Tess" (see it here at www.DarcyAndTess.com) and were busy the week leading up to our event auditioning for the "Rosie O'Donnell" show. We are excited to say "we knew them when...!" Click here to view photos of the event.

Click here to download your photo with Robyn and Colleen.

Dr. R. Prasad Mantravadi, MD, FACR, FACRO, of Radiation Oncology Associates, addressed the latest medical updates as part of the program. Radiation Oncology Associates was one of the event sponsors, along with Indiana Surgical Specialists, Vera Bradley, Emley Design Group, Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hemotology, Punch Films, Cindy Friend Lifestyle Studio, Steel Dynamics, and OmniSource. PHP Foundation was the presenting sponsor of the event.

As co-hosts, Scott and Murray also brought a bit of their improv and Second City experience to the luncheon, engaging board members, a few table captains, and the crowd. "Dr. Know It All" proved that our board members weren't just another set of pretty faces as they fielded questions from the audience in a group answer. Long-time table captains Ann and Doris publicly revealed how they and other table captains act as "pillars" of our organization, as Robyn and Colleen "leaned" on them for support.

Robyn and Colleen were thanked at the end of this fun-filled luncheon and presented with stunning glass jewelry pendants, a first-time collaboration between Chicago artists Amy Odom (The Glass Cafe) and Laura Thompson (Savanah's Designs Glass Studio). These pieces were commissioned especially for Robyn and Colleen and this event. More information may be found locally at gallery8010.

Also announced — an update on the 2011 capital campaign to raise $350,000 for a replacement coach. Board President Sharon Simmons was thrilled to announce during her comments that the all-volunteer non-profit not only met its capital campaign goal, but "thanks to so many generous individuals, supporters, donors and funders, we have exceeded it!" Simmons asked the audience to be sure and check out the brand new coach with the "big red bow" in the parking lot, which was onsite providing screening mammograms. (Click here to see photos of the new coach).

Major funders of $25,000 or more include English Bonter Mitchell Foundation, PHP Foundation, Radiation Oncology Associates, Indiana Surgical Specialists, Steel Dynamics Foundation, and Vera Bradley. They will "ride around on the coach" with their names displayed on the exterior. Those donating $15,000 and above include Wilson Family Foundation, Journal Gazette Foundation, and Mary Cross Tippmann Foundation. Funders contributing $1,000 and above include Waterfield Foundation, Howard P. Arnold Foundation, and Dr. John Crawford. Equally exciting are the countless individuals, businesses, organizations who participated in the grassroots portion "$50k in 50 Days!" to complete the capital campaign. "Everyone who donated owns a piece of our new coach," said Simmons, "whether it was $1, $5, $100, or more!" Click here to read more about those involved in the "$50k in 50 Days!" campaign.