Steeped in history and inspired by the first event held 9 years ago, the mission of the Tides of Change Gala is simple: to raise money for cancer research, education, advocacy and service - to benefit patients, survivors, and their families.
Please join the American Cancer Society and the Tides of Change Committee as we honor:
Humanitarian of the Year
Kathé Sadler-Wright, MSN, RN-C
Community Medical Center of Toms River
Kathe Sadler-Wright earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Tech, her nursing degree from Ocean County College and her Master’s Degree in Nursing from Seton Hall University. She has spent her nursing career working in Women’s Health---Obstetrics, Gynecology, prenatal clinic, women’s surgery, and taught Childbirth Education for over 20 years. She also taught nursing at Ocean County Vocational Technical School for 10 years and for the past 11 years, has been an Adjunct Professor of Nursing at New Jersey City University in their accelerated BSN program.
Currently, Kathe is the Clinical Breast Navigator at the J. Phillip Citta Regional Cancer Center at Community Medical Center (CMC), an RWJBarnabas Health facility. She began working with women undergoing treatment for breast cancer in 1997. Before ‘clinical navigation’ was common in hospitals, CMC recognized the need to educate women about their surgical and treatment options. She describes her role as “GPS for women with breast cancer.” In this role, she collaborates with physicians and the healthcare team to coordinate the care of the patient with a breast cancer diagnosis, explores treatment options and eliminates barriers to treatment. In addition, she serves as a resource for staff and patients, assists patients and their families in obtaining financial and psychosocial assistance, assists with surgical and imaging appointments, helps organize and maintain records for Tumor Board and Cancer Committee, participates in Quality Improvement initiatives, provides breast cancer-related education for hospital staff, and participates in community education programs for women throughout Ocean County. Kathe works closely with the American Cancer Society—referring patients to the ACS navigator and complementary therapy programs at CMC, using ACS patient education materials, and collaborating with them to obtain the best care for their patients.
Cancer navigation is very personal for Kathe. Her interest in breast cancer and how it affects women, started 36 years ago when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 52. “In 1980 treatment was very different: surgery was much more disfiguring and there were not as many treatment options for women. I was a nursing student then, and my father and I struggled to navigate the medical system to get her the best treatment we could. We spent hours in libraries, making calls to clarify options and the American Cancer Society helped us find the resources we needed. Unfortunately, my mother did not survive, but every patient I see or speak with is an opportunity for me to make the breast cancer journey a little bit smoother, in memory of my mother. I feel fortunate to work with colleagues that share the same commitment to our patients, in the only NAPBC accredited breast program in Atlantic and Ocean Counties, and in a center that is one of only 75 nationwide to have earned the Commission on Cancer’s Outstanding Achievement Award.
Entrepreneur of the Year
Monmouth Medical Center
The Cancer Support Community is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to provide support for the physical and emotional concerns of individuals affected by cancer. From diagnosis and treatment through recovery, CSC provides members with support, education, hope, and encouragement to be part of a community of others who are facing survivorship together.
In the fall of 2014, Monmouth Medical Center announced a partnership with the Cancer Support Community, becoming only the third hospital based program in the country. With programs running at both our Long Branch and Lakewood campuses, monthly offerings include support groups, educational workshops, strength building exercise classes, yoga, Qi-Gong, opportunities for socialization, special lectures emphasizing wellness and the mind-body-spirit connection, and a newly created program for children who have a loved one diagnosed with cancer. Our program is open and free of charge to anyone affected by cancer: patients, family members, and supportive friends, no matter where treatment is received.
The Cancer Support Community at Monmouth Medical Center and Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus also works in collaboration with national organizations such as the American Cancer Society where we host alternating monthly Look Good Feel Better® and Wig Program workshops for women, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, US TOO Prostate organization and SPOHNC (Oral/Head/Neck Support Group).
Opening our doors in February 2015 in Long Branch and in March 2015 in Lakewood, attendance has risen steadily over the past two years. We believe our success is attributed to continued review of feedback by members through program survey evaluations and quarterly focus group meetings. With over fifty groups/workshops currently running monthly and our active participation in many outreach community events both in Monmouth and Ocean counties, we look forward to continued growth in 2017.
Joan Hogan, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, Cancer Support Community Program Director, graduated from Georgian Court University with a major in social work and a minor in holistic health and from Fordham University, Lincoln Center, New York City, with her master’s degree in social work. Her passion has been to integrate complementary modalities and evidence based interventions in caring for cancer patients and their families. Originally from Bergen County, New Jersey, Joan has been living at the Jersey Shore for the past several years. She enjoys walking the boards near her home in Island Heights and spending time with family and friends.
Matthew Pitera Volunteer of the Year
Jill Hitchens is currently an Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager for the Investors Bank, Lakewood – Madison Avenue Branch. She joined the Investors Family almost 25 years ago, starting as a part-time Teller in Spring Lake. Within a couple of years, she was a full-time Teller at the Toms River – Fischer Blvd., Branch. Jill proved she had what it took to advance in banking and was promoted to the position of Personal Banker a year later. After building relationships and learning more about the bank, she moved throughout branches in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, serving in various capacities, including Assistant Branch Manager.
Today, she leads a team of seven and manages the day-to-day operations of a successful branch. Jill led her team through the Investors Bank Core Conversion in 2015, a rigorous process that reinforces the banks’ commitment to its customers and the community. She has successfully completed a myriad of courses, seminars and trainings pertinent to her growth and development with Investors Bank.
Jill has always demonstrated her love for the community, where she has lived and worked all of her life. She proudly serves as an American Cancer Society Board Member, and member of the Tides of Change Gala Committee. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Strand Theater in Lakewood. She participates in numerous volunteer activities for the not-for-profit organizations within her region.
When not working or volunteering, Jill loves spending time with her family and her dog Rocky. She likes playing golf and relaxing by the pool in her backyard. Jill has two brothers and two sisters. She also has four beautiful children and three amazing grandchildren. She lives with her husband, the love of her life, David in Beachwood.
Survivor of the Year
McKenzy Hupke is 18 years old and is currently a high school Senior attending OCVTS Performing Arts Academy. In March of 2015, McKenzy was diagnosed with Stage IV Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Her journey started with 10 surgeries even before her diagnosis. She has since been treated with chemotherapies, surgeries, radiation, and is now in active treatment with immunotherapy. McKenzy also has lost most of her hearing in both of her ears from the tumors and surgeries and now wears bilateral hearing aid implants to aide in hearing.
Though she has struggles, she refuses to let them get in the way of being a teenager. She still actively participates in school, community theatre, and has even been in off-Broadway productions in New York City while in active treatment. She tries her best to always keep a positive outlook and have a smile on her face. McKenzy is a performer and has been so lucky that her doctors have willingly let her continue to follow through on this dream through everything. Though the disease may make her struggle slightly more, she fights her way through any challenge. Cancer has had a huge impact on her outlook on life and her determination to reach her goals, she will not give up.
We look forward to sharing more information about these inspiring honorees.
If you would like to support our honorees by purchasing a sponsorship, congratulatory advertisements or event tickets, please contact Lacey LaManna.
Development Manager, Distinguished Events
For more than a 100 years, The American Cancer Society has been leading
the fight to end cancer. With your support, we have helped usher in an
era where more people survive cancer than ever before. By translating
our research findings into action, we've seen a 20% decline in US cancer
death rates since the early 1990s.
2310 Route 34 Suite 1D
Manasquan, NJ 08736