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Spilka Celebrates Work of Local Breast Cancer Foundation

September 14, 2011
Ellie Anbinder, Senator Spilka, Senate President Murray, David Fox, Senate Ways and Means Chairman Stephen Brewer

BOSTON – Yesterday, Senator Karen Spilka was joined by Senate President Therese Murray, Senate Ways and Means Chairman Stephen Brewer, and additional legislators to celebrate the Art beCAUSE Breast Cancer Foundation’s exhibit, Illuminating the Survivor Spirit, now on display in Doric Hall at the State House.

The exhibit is a collection of black and white portraits of women and men who have faced breast cancer head on and features the work of Brookline-based photographer David Fox, who lost his first wife to breast cancer.

“My mother was a breast cancer survivor and I have other relatives who have battled the disease and these pictures remind me of the struggle those with cancer face,” Spilka told the audience. “This exhibit not only raises awareness about the disease, it highlights the immense amount of strength and courage inside each of these men and women.”

“According to the American Cancer Society, more than 39 thousand people have died from breast cancer in 2011 alone. While these numbers are tragic, we are making progress through our dedication to using the latest research and technology to develop new medical treatments and cures,” said Senate President Murray. “With this effort and their continued dedication to cancer prevention, Art beCAUSE is bringing opportunity and hope to so many women, men, and families impacted by this disease.”

“As a cancer survivor, I know firsthand how important early detection and awareness is,” said Senator Stephen Brewer, a prostate cancer survivor.  “Cancer affects men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes.  It is important that as men we stand with women in the fight against breast cancer and all forms of this disease.”

The Art beCAUSE Foundation, based in Framingham, uses profits received from its art gallery and additional events it hosts throughout the year to fund research aimed at exploring the links between environmental chemical exposure and breast cancer.

“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer nineteen years ago, the sole focus of research was centered on finding a cure,” said Ellie Anbinder, co-founder of Art beCAUSE. “When I heard that 90 percent of those diagnosed do not have a family history – which I do not – I decided we must work to promote research focused on where the disease comes from. If we work to identify the environmental causes of breast cancer, we can prevent the disease.”

“When I was taking these pictures, I wanted to show that these are real people fighting this disease,” said Fox. “I wanted to tell the story of their struggle and what the disease does to the body while showing the beauty of each individual.”

“I am honored to be here to celebrate this work,” said Representative Chris Walsh. “The importance of art is that it changes your awareness and these portraits do just that. Not only are they beautiful pieces, but they also change how we view breast cancer and the lives of those facing the disease.”

“Art BeCause has such an important mission, raising funds to research possible links between our environment and our health. The touching photos that are being viewed at the State House are a vivid display of how important their work is to so many lives and families,” said Representative Carolyn Dykema.

Senator Spilka also highlighted the work she and her colleagues have done to improve access to healthcare.

“Even though Massachusetts citizens have access to some of the best medical care facilities in the world, not all breast cancer patients receive the care they need,” said Spilka. “I have repeatedly fought for legislation which would require insurance companies to provide coverage for inpatient care to patients who have undergone a mastectomy, lumpectomy, or lymph node dissection for treatment of breast cancer. We must continue to fight for legislation, like this bill, to make sure that all breast cancer patients have the proper chance to recover.”

Illuminating the Survivor Spirit will be on display in Doric Hall until this Friday, September 16, 2011.

For more on the Art beCAUSE Breast Cancer Foundation, please visit and to see more of David Fox’s work, visit


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