The Ellen Hermanson Foundation, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, was named after Ellen Hermanson, an activist who lost her battle with breast cancer in 1995 at the age of 42. “Breast cancer does not take a break, and neither will we,” President Julie Ratner, Ellen Hermanson’s sister, told Dan’s Papers earlier this year.
The Foundation is known for its annual Ellen’s Run fundraiser, which went virtual this year, as well as for its many contributions to breast cancer treatment and support. Their massive contributions to local breast cancer patients include Ellen’s Well, “which addresses the immediate needs and life issues that are created by a diagnosis of, and treatment for, breast and gynecologic cancers,” according to the foundation. “Included in these issues are the anxiety of living with a life threatening disease, the effect of breast cancer on personal relationships within the family and the workplace, on self-esteem, on one’s sense of control.” In association and partnership with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, Ellen’s Well hosts a number of support groups. “To me the Hermanson family and the board are the heroes,” says Edyle O’Brien, an oncological social worker who runs the groups and was honored by the Ellen Hermanson Foundation this summer. “I feel that life affects cancer and cancer affects life, you can’t separate the two,” she said.
The Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital opened in 2009. “We’ve been so committed to keeping our money here on the East End of Long Island. And the opening of the breast center was a focal point for us,” said Ratner. The Center is a designated Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and provides education, early detection screenings and breast cancer treatment and support. The Center utilizes state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques, including computer-assisted mammography, ultrasound and a breast biopsy system that locates breast abnormalities and obtains tissue samples. Under the leadership of Dr. Edna Kapenhas, the Center includes Board-certified radiologists, pathologist, oncology nurse, radiology nurses, patient navigator and certified technologists.
The Ellen Hermanson Foundation has been and continues to be an invaluable source of support and advocacy for breast cancer patients, survivors and their families. For more information on this remarkable organization, visit ellenhermanson.org.