AUGUSTA — In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the Maine Breast Health Leadership Award was presented at the 15th annual Silver Tea hosted by first lady Ann LePage at the Blaine House on Sept. 27. This year’s recipient, recognized for her leadership in assisting Maine men and women touched by breast cancer, is Carlene Sperry of Auburn.

Sperry was raised in Caribou, and she and her husband settled in Auburn. Carlene was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in January 2003 and she promised that if she were healed of her breast cancer, her “voice” would be heard.

In January 2005, Sperry brought breast cancer survivors together, away from the hospital/infusion room setting, to support, care and share with each other the hope and courage needed to get through their breast cancer journey. This support group continues to meet in Carlene’s living room.

In addition to this support group, Sperry also wanted to help raise funds, and encourage others to raise funds, to support breast cancer survivors and create awareness of the disease. Her many accomplishments include participating in golf tournaments and auctions; creating a cookbook; participating in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks; fundraisers with Longaberger Baskets; meeting with elected officials in Washington, D.C. to show her passion for sustaining government funding for cancer research; creating a prize winning Hearts of Hope jewelry collection of her own design; and establishment of a nonprofit, Heart of Hope Charitable Fund, where 100 percent of money raised goes to men and women with breast cancer

As an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer, Sperry has met with local, state and federal elected officials to advocate for the rights of cancer patients.

The Maine Leadership Award for Breast Health, created in 1998, is a collaborative effort of the American Cancer Society, the Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program, the Maine Cancer Foundation, the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition, Maine Breast Nurse Network and Maine Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Leadership Awards are presented annually to recognize Maine residents who have made exceptional contributions to promoting breast health, improving understanding of breast cancer and/or working toward the elimination of the disease at the national, state or local level. Nominations are accepted year round and nomination forms can be found at www.cancer.org/blainehousetea.


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