Published October 28. 2020 02:45PM
On Oct. 16, Honi Gruenburg, a local resident and 22-year breast cancer survivor, was a recipient of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition Pink Ribbon award at the Breast Cancer Coalition’s annual conference.
Her drive and commitment to raising breast cancer awareness is just as strong today as it was 22 years ago when she was diagnosed and realized how little attention the disease received.
One driving force
When asked what drove her to become so actively involved in breast cancer awareness and the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, Gruenburg said, “When I started this journey, my daughter was 14. I wanted to see her graduate high school, graduate college, get married and have kids.”
Although she was blessed to see all these things happen, she keeps moving forward in her commitment to raising breast cancer awareness so her daughter and granddaughters can live a full life with all the blessings she had.
Raising awareness and giving back
When she was lectures on breast cancer, she says, “Find a cure now, so our daughters won’t have to.”
Gruenburg’s first task was to bring to Monroe County the photo exhibit titled “67 Women, 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania.”
She was also instrumental in the creation of the Pink Light Walk in Stroudsburg 20 years ago, and then later starting the West End Pink Light Walk in 2005.
PA Senate Bill 595
Not ready to rest on her laurels, Gruenburg became involved with the PA Senate Bill 595 to address the lack of reassurance for women after their yearly mammograms.
Women with dense breast tissue or had a strong history of breast cancer in their family needed to know they were doing everything they could to be proactive about breast cancer.
The Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition asked her to reach out to state Sen. Mario Scavello, 40th District, to pass legislation for patients with dense breasts, because patients with high-risk factors, such as a personal history of breast cancer, family history and genetic predisposition to breast cancer need to have a routine mammogram, but to also receive follow-up testing ultrasound or MRIs to identify cancers that might not be visible on just a mammogram with dense breast tissue.
Senate Bill 595, requiring insurers to cover breast cancer screenings for high-risk conditions, passed through the House unanimously and Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill sponsored by state Sen. Bob Mensch.
While many people were involved in getting this legislation passed, without Gruenburg’s devotion and firm belief that one day breast cancer can be cured, SB 595 may never have happened.
She is a compassionate, giving survivor who brings hope to those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or families watching a loved one going through the journey of breast cancer.
Honi Gruenburg, a local resident and 22-year breast cancer survivor, was a recipient of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition Pink Ribbon award at the Breast Cancer Coalition’s annual conference. AMY LEAP/TIMES NEWS