CONTACT:     Dr. Katherine Boyd


Ribbon of Hope Foundation PRESS RELEASE

Ribbon of Hope Foundation Awards First Patient Assistance Grant to Macomb County resident

MARCH 12, 2007, WARREN, MI — “Everyone who rides in my elevator will hear about the importance of getting early mammograms,” Iris Brown emphatically states.  The patient transport elevator operator for St. John Macomb Hospital is a recent breast cancer survivor and a vocal supporter of public education.  She is also the first recipient of a Ribbon of Hope Foundation emergency assistance grant. 

Based in Warren, Michigan, the grassroots foundation focuses its attention exclusively on metropolitan Detroit families in need.  The Ribbon of Hope Foundation was founded in early 2006 by Dr. Katherine Boyd, an obstetrician/gynecologist in private practice in Warren, Michigan.  Her personal contact with families struggling with the effects of breast cancer was the basis for the nonprofit organization’s genesis. 

“The Ribbon of Hope’s mission is to lighten the financial burdens of families coping with the effects of cancer,” explains Dr. Boyd. “We do this by extending emergency financial assistance to women undergoing treatment for breast cancer.  Our goal is to ensure access to mammograms, medications, and treatments for those who could not otherwise afford them.”

On January 14, 2007, the Ribbon of Hope awarded Brown a $1,000 check and an airline voucher to fly her Washington state-based granddaughter and infant great-granddaughter to Michigan for an emotional visit.  “We didn’t have to search long to find an outstanding person to receive the Foundation’s first gift,” notes Dr. Boyd.  “A smiling fixture at St. John Macomb for years, Iris has a kind word for everyone she sees.  We are honored to be able to provide such an inspiring person with assistance funds.”

Brown was initially in denial when she found the lump in her breast last April.  She delayed seeing a doctor even though her mother had been a victim of breast cancer years earlier.  “I finally said I’ve got to get myself to a doctor,” explains Brown, who was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer.

She continued with her job throughout courses of chemotherapy, even winning the hospital’s Associate of the Year award for 2006, while revealing her health issues to very few of her colleagues.  She remained at her post until October when exhaustion brought on by the chemotherapy made her unable to complete the short walk to work.

Now in radiation treatment and expected to return to her elevator soon, Brown explains that she wants to spread the word about screening mammograms.  “I have daughters and granddaughters, and I want them – and everyone else – to know the importance of early detection,” Brown says.  “People need to be educated.”

The Ribbon of Hope also offers scholarships to local children whose mothers have battled breast cancer.   Applications are currently being accepted and the Foundation’s first scholarship recipients will soon be announced.  For more information, please call (586) 573-7222 or visit our website at