In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School will showcase an exhibit by alumna Lisa Boccard entitled "The Cure Package,” a photographic essay documenting her journey with Stage III metastatic breast cancer.
The exhibit, which kicks off with a reception on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 7-9 p.m., features 15 photos of Boccard during three stages of her illness (pre-mastectomy, chemotherapy and after mastectomy). The photos — taken by Miami Beach-based photographer Lynn Parks during the 1990s — include text by Boccard.
Born and raised in Miami, Boccard, now 51, graduated from ACND in 1980. She first developed breast cancer at age 29.
“It was misdiagnosed for over nine months because of my young age and the fact that I had no family history of the disease,” explains Boccard.
After undergoing aggressive chemotherapy and a mastectomy, Boccard was surprised to meet cancer patients and survivors who were “more worried about losing their hair than their lives.”
Boccard says she decided to have the photographs taken “to help me get through the disease, take control of my body and to feel more feminine.”
Unfortunately, in 2003, Boccard’s cancer spread to her abdomen, ovaries, fallopian tubes and liver. In 2011, doctors discovered a mass on her intestines. To date, Boccard has endured 26 surgeries and remains on chemotherapy — but is alive and cancer-free.
To help others, 10 years ago Boccard, her brother Vincent and sister-in-law Terry founded The Lisa Boccard Breast Cancer Fund benefiting Broward Health Center Coral Springs. It provides breast screening, biopsies and, in some cases, treatment for women in need.
Since its inception, Boccard says the fund has provided breast screenings for 1,200 women. Of those, 57 tested positive for cancer, but thanks to early diagnosis all are still alive.
“Being involved in this fund helps me. It gives me a purpose,” Boccard says. “My message is to not let adversity consume you. Be accepting but proactive.”
The photo exhibit is part of ACND Prep’s 60th anniversary “Through the Lens” alumni artist series. The school is located at 4949 NE Second Ave. in Miami. The Oct. 5 opening is free and open to the public. For information, call 305-751-8367 or visit www.acnd.net.
To learn more about the Lisa Boccard Breast Cancer Fund, go to www.browardhealth.org/csmc.
Six-year-old Massimo Stoka of Miami Beach is unaware of any ongoing controversy or negative publicity surrounding the Miami Beach Police Department. He’s just thrilled by his recent visit to the police station at 1100 Washington Ave.
“Most young boys think cops are pretty cool. Massimo has been obsessed since age 3 and incorporates his interest in the police into our daily routine,” explains his mom, Katy Stoka.
She says that Massimo, a first-grader at North Beach Elementary, has dressed up as a police officer every day after school since kindergarten.
In June, while registering for summer camp at the Miami Beach JCC with his mom and younger brother Enzo, 4, Massimo (dressed in his usual police garb) approached Miami Beach officer Ernesto Rodriguez. After learning about the boy’s fascination with police, Rodriguez asked the brothers if they’d like to tour the station.
“The invitation was bigger than Mickey Mouse, Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, and a real-life Transformer combined,” says Stoka, 37.
Massimo’s dream was realized on Aug. 14 with a three-hour tour that included meeting with multiple officers, Chief Ray Martinez, Deputy Chief Mark Overton and Captain Alex Carulo. The trio viewed the 911 dispatch center, police motorcycles and learned about the SWAT team. Massimo’s favorite: a boat tour by Marine Patrol Officer Vicente Canete.
Not surprisingly, Massimo plans to join the force when he grows up.
“When I am 38, I can be a policeman, but now I’m only 6 1/4,” he says.
For now, he’ll just keep dressing like one.
The Miami Children’s Museum (MCM) celebrated its tenth year on Watson Island with a birthday party for 800 guests. The Sept. 7 event featured games, multicultural dances with mascot MiChiMu, face-painting and, of course, cake.
Originally founded in 1983, MCM offers bilingual and interactive exhibits, programs and classes related to arts, culture, community and communication.
“We are proud to have touched the lives of millions of children,” said CEO Deborah Spiegelman. “We look forward to unveiling our new master plan.”
Spiegelman says the plan — slated to be released this fall — includes renovation and expansion of the Watson Island facility within the next five years.
In honor of its birthday, MCM is offering reduced admission of $10 for Miami-Dade residents throughout September.
For tickets and info, call 305-373-KIDS (5437) or visit www.miamichildrensmuseum.org.