On October 29, members of the Taunia Oechslin Girls Night Out (TOGNO) Foundation delivered a donation of $25,000 to the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center (JMBCC) in support of patient care services. Typically, each year the Foundation holds an annual fundraising event that brings together breast cancer survivors, family, friends, and supporters. Unfortunately, this year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Despite the global pandemic and a canceled event, the Foundation was still able to raise this large sum through sponsorships and alternative fundraisers. The committee sold raffle tickets for a Louis Vuitton purse raising more than $2,300; the Bishop McCort, Forest Hills, Johnstown, Richland, and Westmont cheerleading squads flocked yards with pink flamingos raising $6,000; and Westmont Soccer Boosters raised $900 during a pink out soccer game.
“I know the TOGNO Foundation had high hopes for the 2020 event, especially following last year’s event that helped them to reach the staggering $1 million mark. Unfortunately, like most fundraising events this year, they had to cancel theirs. Despite that, they were able to raise an incredible amount and we are extremely grateful. Their support and generosity year after year continues to increase breast cancer awareness and funds for patient services,” said JMBCC Director 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, “Taunia Oechslin started this event 14 years ago as a ‘pay it forward’ project for the caring and personal attention she received at the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since Taunia’s passing in 2009, the Taunia Oechslin Girls Night Out committee has been dedicated to paying it forward in her honor. We’ve become the largest dinner event in Johnstown with over 800 women in attendance. Last year 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!”
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. It was her goal that every woman is educated about breast cancer, understands the value of early detection and receives proper treatment. To date, TOGNO has raised over $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.
Thank you for your dedication and commitment every year!
Pictured, L to R: Kim Riek, TOGNO Committee Member; Erin Goins, Director of the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center; Meghan Stahl-Skinner, TOGNO Committee Chairperson; Tom Kurtz, President and CEO of Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber
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.