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St. John’s University’s Staten Island Campus hosted a Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

St. John’s University’s Staten Island Campus hosted a Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon on Thursday, October 3, 2013 with special guest speakers Peter Criss, founding member of the band KISS and Anthony C. Ferreri, president and CEO of Staten Island University Hospital and executive director of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, both breast cancer survivors. The standing room only event co-sponsored by Student Health Services, Chi Theta Omega fraternity, and the Campus Activities Board drew a crowd of over 125 students, faculty and staff from across the campus.

The focus of this year’s event was initiated by graduate assistant Vincent Innocente ‘14TCB who cited the unrecognized awareness of male breast cancer during his interview for the position in Student Health Services. That conversation sparked his interest in getting more male students involved and he began an almost two year quest to contact Criss and invite him to speak to St. John’s students about his experience. In July 2013

Through his 2012 autobiography Make Up to Breakup: My Life in and Out of Kiss and other work in dedication to the cause, Peter says he is on a mission to spread the word about early detection for men and women. In reference to his faith as a devout Roman Catholic, Criss spoke about the importance of prayer throughout his journey and that he believes God saved him so that he can spread the word and help save others. For his efforts, the American Cancer Society honored Peter as Humanitarian of the Year in March.

In 2008, Peter was diagnosed with breast cancer. Upon undergoing both a lumpectomy and mastectomy, he is now cancer-free. He now hopes to be a role model in another sense to help raise the public’s consciousness of the little-known fact that men can get breast cancer too. As a high profile celebrity with this cancer, Peter says he hopes his heavy metal credentials will help mitigate the stigma around breast cancer for men.

Ferreri, a parent of two St. John’s alums, spoke at length about early detection and the responsibility he has as a healthcare administrator to raise awareness and provide necessary services to the Staten Island community. Ferreri had a tumor that started in his armpit that went undetected for almost 35 years until being diagnosed after a physical. He then underwent chemotherapy and radiation and is now cancer free as well.

Margaret A. Tierney RN, MS Ed ’02, director of Student Health Services on Staten Island, stated that St. John’s has been a participant in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk for nearly two decades and a Flagship sponsor for over 10 years.

Coverage of the luncheon can be seen here: