Greater Boston area breast cancer survivor, volunteer selected as ASTRO’s 2016 Survivor Circle Award winner
Theresa A. Keresztes will be recognized at ASTRO’s Annual Meeting in Boston
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has chosen Theresa A. Keresztes, a resident of Wellesley, Massachusetts, to receive the 2016 Survivor Circle Award. Keresztes will be presented with the award, including $1,000, during an awards ceremony at ASTRO’s 58th Annual Meeting, September 25-28, 2016, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
The Survivor Circle Award recognizes a cancer survivor who lives in the region where ASTRO holds its Annual Meeting and has dedicated his or her time and energy in service and support of the local cancer community. Keresztes is a volunteer with the Wellesley Cancer Prevention Project, based in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and other groups.
“As a breast cancer survivor and volunteer, Ms. Keresztes has inspired others through her volunteer work on educational prevention programs and other services for people with cancer. She is a wonderful role model and led by example as she started and maintained a healthy exercise and diet program throughout her own radiation treatment course. She didn’t stop there, though, and generously raised money for under-insured breast cancer patients as she completed her first Boston Marathon earlier this year,” said ASTRO President-elect Brian D. Kavanagh, MD, MPH, FASTRO. “ASTRO is honored to present Ms. Keresztes with the 2016 Survivor Circle Award.”
Keresztes was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in 2007, undergoing a lumpectomy and radiation therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She received tamoxifen for five years following treatment.
She said she always liked to volunteer, and following the end of her treatment in 2010 for DCIS, she became involved with the Wellesley Cancer Prevention Project. She now sits on the nonprofit’s board. She said the group has done great work in the community through a variety of ways: “helping form legislation on non-toxic environmental protection against pesticides; holding educational forums on preventative measures to lower incidence of disease for survivors and families; and promoting water quality, decreasing pollution, and fostering healthy habits relative to food, diet and exercise.”
“At the time I joined, the nonprofit was in need of programming and marketing support,” she said. “Today we communicate with our community via a new website, social media channels, monthly blogs, newsletters and free public forums. We also partner with strategic groups to build awareness about health and prevention and launched SmartScan, the only app that tells you what ingredients are potentially unsafe or harmful from the supermarket to the hardware store.”
Keresztes launched an event called The My Girls Gala Fashion Fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research, sponsored by a jeweler in Boston and Keresztes’ newly launched company, My Girls Skin Care, to raise funds for MGH's breast cancer research programs.
“The event was unique in that the models were also breast cancer patients, and they felt terrific taking part. Their faces beamed as they took the catwalk for the first time since treatment, but this time in beautiful clothing hand-selected for them and specifically designed for breast asymmetry, which can result from surgery.”
Later this year, she will walk the runway herself for Catwalk for a Cure and Susan G. Komen of Southern New England.
Keresztes said she was honored to be chosen for ASTRO’s 2016 Survivor Circle Award. She recommends that those considering volunteering examine what kind of activities they enjoy most and look for groups that support those efforts.
“I like to volunteer where I may learn from others and get an opportunity to work on new and creative projects that help me grow personally and professionally,” she said. “However, one of the greatest gifts I have discovered over the years is that giving to others who do not expect help from others, most often strangers, is the best reward of all.”
Erin L. Boyle
ASTRO is the premier radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals that specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through professional education and training, support for clinical practice and health policy standards, advancement of science and research, and advocacy. ASTRO publishes three medical journals, International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (www.redjournal.org), Practical Radiation Oncology (www.practicalradonc.org) and Advances in Radiation Oncology (www.advancesradonc.org); developed and maintains an extensive patient website, RT Answers (www.rtanswers.org); and created the Radiation Oncology Institute (www.roinstitute.org), a nonprofit foundation to support research and education efforts around the world that enhance and confirm the critical role of radiation therapy in improving cancer treatment. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org.