Francine’s Friends October Luncheon

The 10th Annual “Lunch with Friends” is Oct. 10, 2014. Registration is at 11 a.m. and the luncheon is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Avenue, Fort Wayne, IN 46805 (260) 482-9502.

Francine’s Friends 10th anniversary artwork by Fort Wayne artist, Terry Ratliff

lunch with friends

One would not think that an unwelcome scourge like cancer would be marked with any kind of recognition. But this month, area women are throwing down the red carpet for an anniversary celebration of 10 years with a big, pink coach that aids in preventing breast cancer.

Meet Francine’s Friends Mobile Mammography, which bills itself as “Bosom buddies in the fight against cancer,” and proudly partners with Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center for operational support and follow-up services, and with Breast Diagnostic Center, which performs the testing and screenings, along with board-certified radiologists from Fort Wayne Radiology, which reads and reports the results.

This inspirational, all-volunteer 501(c)3 nonprofit entity was the creation of friends of Francine Schubert, who fought breast cancer courageously but lost the fight in 2002. Schubert’s many friends were so impressed with how she handled life during this difficult time that they wanted to find a way to memorialize her. Out of their grief and great loss, Francine’s Friends Mobile Mammography Coach was created to become a life-saving early detection of breast cancer.

The 2014 annual October Luncheon will be held Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Onehundred percent of the entire $75-per-person ticket goes to cover the cost of screening mammograms to those who might not otherwise get these breast screenings and follow-up care due to inability to pay, thus reducing breast cancer deaths.

According to Donna Emley, who was with the coach from the start, their first Luncheon was in October 2005.

“We did the ribbon cutting on the coach in November at the Scott’s Food Store on North Clinton,” said Emley of Emley Design Group.

“Francine’s Friends started organizing to purchase the coach in late 2004, but for all intents, 2005 is our official start date for both the coach and the annual October Luncheon.”

According to FF president Sharon Simmons, the mobile mammograms, “epitomes Francine’s Friends’ mission and vision to offer potentially life-saving screenings to all women in the community. We make it convenient, easy and affordable.”

This year’s luncheon will feature a runway-style fashion show presented by Julie Eckert-Clancy of Jophiel, with 14 models, including six breast cancer survivors. Also featured will be John Cook, M.D. from Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, who will speak about the latest in breast reconstruction surgery.

In addition, there will be a presentation by Miss IPFW Shana Patel who will be joined by some of her friends from “Hip-Hop for Hope,” a fundraiser she created and hosted for Francine’s Friends.

The October Luncheon is looked forward to all year.

“Everyone is so gracious – catching up with old friends, making new friends, sharing insight and encouragement,” was how Emley summed it up.

“Also, one visiting Chicago woman whose mammogram was happily normal was so inspired by the experience that she ended up creating ‘The Faces of Breast Cancer,” a two-mask glass set depicting both the darker side of the emotions that a woman might feel and face after she learns she has the disease, while also reflecting both the acceptance and positive emotions of strength, hope and courage that eventually emerge as she moves into the ‘I’m a survivor’ mode.

“The sculpture set made its debut at the juried Festival of the Masters at Walt Disney World in Florida later that year and eventually was sold to a breast cancer survivor. Part of the proceeds of that sale were donated back to Francine’s Friends to pay it forward.”

This year’s presenting sponsor is PHP and the luncheon sponsors include Radiation Oncology Associates, Vera Bradley, glo Magazine, Emley Design Group, Jophiel, Fort Wayne Medical Oncology & Hematology, Punch Films, Do It Best Corp., Briner Building, Inc., Shaffer Multimedia, Steel Dynamics, Inc., and Omni-Source.

According to its website (, FF’s vision is, “To increase cancer screenings in northeast Indiana by providing a highly accessible and visible community resource.”

The 38-foot-long coach has been a viable community presence these last 10 years and was also honored last month as one of the 36 health care professionals and or-ganizations receiving an award at the Business Weekly Health Care Awards program.

The honorees were chosen by the judges, “because they exemplify the significant contributions one individual or organization can make to the quality of health care for all in northeast Indiana.”

Ladies, take a moment out of your 10th anniversary Luncheon to hoist a glass to Francine and her Friends for the many lives they have potentially saved with their wonderful early-detection mobile mammography coach!

For more information on Francine’s Friends Mobile Mammography, visit or call (260) 385-2016. For mammogram scheduling, call (260) 483-1847 or 1-800-727-8439, ex. 26540. To schedule the coach site visit, call (260) 266-9180.

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