On April 27, members of the Taunia Oechslin Girls Night Out (TOGNO) Foundation presented a donation of $143,330 to the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center (JMBCC) in support of patient care services. Each year, the Foundation holds an annual fundraising event that brings together breast cancer survivors, family, friends, and supporters. The 14th annual event was held on April 12 at the Masonic Temple in Johnstown with more than 750 women in attendance.
This year, Elizabeth Belinda spoke about her journey with breast cancer. Additionally, JMBCC Breast Specialist Dr. Deborah Sims stressed the importance of breast self-exams and early detection. Senior Director of the Biobank at Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber Dr. Stella Somiari discussed the significant role that patients have by choosing to donate tissue and blood samples to breast cancer research.
“The TOGNO committee put together another incredible night to raise awareness for breast cancer and funds for patient services at the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center, bringing in a staggering $143,330. We are extremely grateful for the support and generosity of the committee, community members, and supporters year after year,” said CSSMCW Director of Women’s Services Erin Goins.
JMBCC’s partnership with TOGNO has provided financial assistance to patients for breast imaging examinations; breast biopsies and surgeries; genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndromes; and education about the importance of breast cancer screenings. Contributions also support equipment and technology needed to screen, detect and diagnose breast cancer, ensuring access to the most up-to-date technology for community members.
According to Meghan Stahl-Skinner, TOGNO chairperson, “We are the largest dinner event in Johnstown with over 750 women in attendance. In 2019, we celebrated our 13th annual event and presented the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center a check for $150,000 – an amount that enabled us to reach the $1 million mark! We are thrilled the community continues to support us after being off for two years due to COVID, and that we are able to donate $143,330 to help women of this community get the breast care they need.”
TOGNO began in 2006 as a small “pay it forward” project by Taunia Oechslin, a breast cancer fighter who was diagnosed at 36 years old and succumbed to the disease on April 9, 2009 at the age of 39. She started the project because of the caring and personal attention she received at the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was her goal that every woman is educated about breast cancer, understands the value of early detection, and receives proper treatment. Since Taunia’s passing, the TOGNO committee has been dedicated to paying it forward in her honor. To date, they have raised more than $1.1 million for the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center to ensure “cutting edge” care in a state-of-the-art facility for every uninsured and underinsured woman in our community.
About Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center
The Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center (JMBCC) opened in February 2002 offering comprehensive and personalized breast care in one convenient location. The JMBCC is exists to prevent and treat diseases of the breast and other conditions that can impact the lives of the women served. The tools and techniques used include digital mammography, ultrasound, breast biopsies, breast MRI, bone densitometry, genetic counseling, research studies, and a female breast surgeon on-site.
About Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber
Founded in 1906, Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber (CSSMCW) is an independent, non-profit acute care hospital in northern Somerset County, bordering Cambria County. The 54-bed hospital shares a campus and collaborates with Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber (CSSIMMW), a private, non-profit biomedical research center. With more than 450 employees, CSSMCW is the fourth largest employer in Somerset County. CSSMCW’s mission is to provide excellence in personalized, quality health care services through innovation, research and education in response to community needs. For more information visit www.windbercare.org.
Pictured: (front row, left to right) Anna Replogle, committee member; Kim Oleksa, Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber foundation director; Erin Goins, Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center director of women’s health services; Jayne Hoffman, committee treasurer; Megan Stahl-Skinner, committee president; Tracey Giger, committee member; (middle row, left to right) committee members Pam McCall, Jeanne Chaff, Faith Ellenberger, Maureen Kimlin and Carrie Mills; (back row, left to right) committee members Sherri Smay, Kim Gahagen, Brenda McLaughlin and Wendy Pierce.