First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
Breast Cancer Survivors Honored at Annual Luncheon

Press Release Date:  Monday, May 03, 2010  
Contact Information:  Elizabeth Roach

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Today, First Lady Jane Beshear joined actress Fran Drescher and University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari in welcoming approximately 1,000 breast cancer survivors from across the Commonwealth to the 13th annual Celebration of Hope. Former First Ladies Judi Patton and Phyllis George were in attendance, as well as former Governor Martha Layne Collins.

The celebration was held in downtown Frankfort today at the Frankfort Convention Center from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., following a weekend of Derby festivities.

“Celebrating our survivors is a special way to cap off the festivities of the Derby,” said Mrs. Beshear.  “The men and women who were with us today are such an inspiration — hosting them at this event is just one way we can honor their courage and resilience.”

This year’s guests heard words of inspiration from actress and cancer survivor Fran Drescher.  “The welcoming warmth that I’ve received here in Kentucky has raised the bar on Southern hospitality,” said Ms. Drescher. “From the Governor’s welcome to my Mom selecting the Derby horse, it was a memorable experience, but the icing on the cake was the Celebration of Hope. Kudos to you all for your spirit of generosity and courage!”

Ms. Drescher is best known for playing the unforgettable Fran Fine in the hit television show, The Nanny, and for her memorable roles in Saturday Night Fever, This is Spinal Tap and Jack. After two years of symptoms and repeated misdiagnosis, in 2000 Ms. Drescher was treated for uterine cancer. Her difficult struggle against this disease led her to author the book, Cancer Schmancer, and launch a national awareness campaign sharing the same name. She remains devoted to empowering women across the country to take control of their health, and to raising awareness about breast and gynecological cancer.

Also speaking was University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari. He founded the Calipari Family Foundation For Children, which is dedicated to the betterment of the lives of underprivileged children.

Holding true to the “pink” theme of breast cancer awareness, the tables on the convention floor and the entryway were decorated with pink and blue cloths, pink floral arrangements and pink and blue wooden jockeys. With the help of more than 140 volunteers, the Kentucky Proud luncheon, which was complimentary for all breast cancer survivors, included quiche, sausage, fried green tomatoes, fruit, ham sandwiches and grits. Among the volunteers were 25 members of Thursday Group, which consists of breast cancer survivors.

Various merchants and authors were in booths in and around the convention center lobby. Vendors were asked to donate a portion of all proceeds to the Celebration of Hope.

In addition to the luncheon, the Governor’s Mansion and Capitol Rotunda were open for tours for all attendees. Downtown Frankfort also ran a shuttle from the Frankfort Convention Center to the mansion and back. In honor of the cancer survivor celebration, the city of Frankfort also went “pink” by creating decorative window displays and offering discounts for shoppers. A pink ambulance performed blood pressure checks.

The Celebration of Hope was initiated by former First Lady Judi Patton and has since developed into a celebration of survivorship, as well as an opportunity to educate Kentucky’s women about breast cancer awareness. Additionally, this gathering of survivors and advocates serves to promote awareness that breast cancer is the most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women — both nationally and in Kentucky.

For more information on the Celebration of Hope, visit and click on the link for Celebration of Hope.