Breast Cancer Awareness Month: New Mammo Cup Patch Offered with Annual Mammogram

The American Cancer Society estimates 2,490 women in Nevada will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and an estimated 400 women will also lose their lives to the disease. Unfortunately, only 60 percent of Nevada women 45 years and older have up-to-date mammography, ranking our state 47th in the nation.

Early detection and prevention of breast cancer is crucial, and mammograms make it possible to check for the disease in women, even before they have any signs or symptoms.

To encourage and incentivize women in Southern Nevada to get their annual mammogram, Comprehensive Cancer Centers (Comprehensive) teamed up with Vegas Golden Knights’ star defenseman Shea Theodore to create the Mammo Cup Patch.

Available now and while supplies last, women throughout the valley who complete their annual mammogram at a program partner site can receive the limited edition Mammo Cup patch. The patch is inspired by and designed like patches worn on team jerseys to celebrate various accomplishments.

Of course, having an up-to-date mammogram is an accomplishment in and of itself. Women who receive the patch can proudly wear it on a favorite Golden Knights jersey or keepsake to celebrate, while potentially encouraging other women to get a mammogram.

The Mammo Cup patch is part of Kay’s Power Play, a fund launched in November 2020 for Susan G. Komen Nevada, that is named in Kay Darlington’s memory – Shea Theodore’s late grandmother and a beloved breast cancer patient at Comprehensive. The fund serves as a critical lifeline, providing financial assistance for the uninsured and underinsured to keep mammograms top of mind. For those needing preventative resources, Kay’s Power Play is a means to receive care that may lead to a potentially life-altering diagnosis.

Mammo Cup patches are currently available at Breast Center at Sunrise, Desert Radiology, Desert View Hospital, Nevada Health Centers Mammovan, Pueblo Medical Imaging, Simon Med Imaging, Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging and Summerlin Hospital. For details on Kay’s Power Play and the Mammo Cup patch, visit https://cccnevada.com/kays-power-play.

Photo: Courtesy of Comprehensive Cancer Centers. Jon Bilstein, CEO Comprehensive Cancer Centers; Dr. Rupesh J. Parikh, Practice President; Cam Theodore, father of Shea; Corrine Theodore, mother of Shea; Shea Theodore, VGK Defenseman and Sherry Alexis (former development manager for Susan G Komen).

New UNLV Program Training Next Generation of Occupational Therapists

A program with a living lab in the Las Vegas Medical District is helping to fill a critical health care shortage in Nevada. UNLV’s Occupational Therapy doctoral program will have its first cohort graduating in Spring 2023 to help patients regain their lives after critical illness or injury. Take student Mary Ashley Galan-Gornal, who is practicing use of an adaptive knife to slice an apple. Mastering this skill will help her to teach stroke patients and others how to do simple, ever-day skills they once took for granted.

“If you’re working with a stroke patient, they don’t have the fine motor grasp that they once had prior to the accident happening,” she explained. “This can help get them back to where they used to be.”

That’s the cornerstone of occupational therapy: giving patients back their lives.

Occupational therapists work across the lifespan — from the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) to palliative care and everywhere in between.

But with UNLV’s new intensive and innovative three-year doctoral program in occupational therapy, housed in the department of brain health in the School of Integrated Health Sciences, students like Galan-Gornal are being trained to meet the needs of patients throughout Southern Nevada and the Silver State.

The program, which opened in summer 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is needed now more than ever as Nevada faces a shortage of licensed occupational therapists: approximately 1,200 for about 3.2 million residents.

Working in occupational therapy for nearly five decades, founding program director Donna Costa is intimately aware of the problem. And finding a solution is what drove her to UNLV, where she built the program from the ground up.

“Building up our occupational therapy workforce to meet the needs of Nevada residents is our next step in bolstering the state’s health care infrastructure,” she said.

COVID patients are likely to need occupational therapy after being discharged from the hospital. They might continue to have respiratory or fatigue issues. Others might experience depression or cognitive challenges.

That’s where occupational therapy comes in.

“We’re going to help you get back on track,” Costa said. “Once you leave the hospital, what do you want to do with your life? What do you need to do? OT is very client-centered and very specific to the individual. You could look at 10 OTs and see them doing 10 different things. There’s so much diversity and creativity available to students who are pursuing the field.”

And where UNLV students are learning these vital skills gives the program a unique twist.

Headquartered in a home — complete with a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and laundry area — on Shadow Lane in the Las Vegas Medical District, the program gives students the opportunity to learn in a living lab of sorts.

They’re learning how to help patients move safely from a bed to the shower. Using adaptive utensils, they’re learning how to teach future patients to navigate a kitchen again.

“When we first set up the program, I said we need a living environment, not a typical university lab,” Costa said. “The house is perfect for that. It simulates an actual living environment that a patient might be in.”

The home also features a pediatric mobility lab, where students are learning how to use a colorful ball pit to tune up a child’s sensory system. And on the other side of the home, a driving simulation system tests a patient’s reaction time to see if they’re ready to get back on the road.

“We give people back their lives, which is incredibly gratifying,” said Costa.

The 120-credit occupational therapy degree program is robust, featuring full-time summer internships, mini-clinicals throughout the year, and a community capstone project. The program’s curriculum also features a strong focus in the mental health of adults and children, owing to Nevada’s other shortage in mental health practitioners.

Armed to practice occupational therapy in all of these settings, the second cohort began their coursework in person on May 17.

Combined, 70% of the students are Nevada residents.

Galan-Gornal is one of the “rookies” — as she affectionately calls members of the first cohort — who call Nevada home.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology at UNLV in 2018 and spent some time working as a therapy tech at Valley Hospital.

Fresh off a summer internship in the neurointensive care unit at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, and after spending a majority of the first year of the program online, Galan-Gornal is back in Las Vegas and excited to resume in-person learning at the house on Shadow Lane.

She’s still formulating what her capstone project will look like but knows that her “bread and butter” is working in a hospital setting on neurorestorative therapies for stroke patients.

“In a way, I feel like this is my calling,” she said.

Photo: Courtesy of UNLV School of Integrated Health Sciences: UNLV occupational therapy doctoral students use adaptive tools to learn how to help future patients navigate a kitchen environment. (Lonnie Timmons III/UNLV Photo Services)

25 Years of Powerful Impact: Celebrating the Power of Love®

Benefiting the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

On Saturday, October 16 at Resorts World Las Vegas, Keep Memory Alive will honor legendary musicians, Smokey Robinson and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds at the 25th annual Power of Love® gala. Twenty-five years in the making, the highly anticipated evening of friendship and philanthropy will feature performances from a list of notable artists, along with exquisite cuisine from celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck and Bobby Flay, and exciting live and silent auctions with truly priceless products and experiences.

K.T. Lim
Keep Memory Alive will present its Alive Global Community Leadership Award to K.T. Lim, Chairman and CEO of Genting Group, developer of Resorts World, in honor of his outstanding accomplishments and generous philanthropic support around the globe for those with neurodegenerative disease.

Smokey Robinson
During the course of his 50-year career in music, Motown legend Robinson has accumulated more than 4,000 songs to his credit, first dominating the R&B scene through the 1960s and early ‘70s as a member of The Miracles, then as a solo artist. His numerous awards include the Grammy Living Legend Award, NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award, an Honorary Doctorate from Howard University, Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts Award from the President of the United States. He has also been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds is one of the most celebrated creative forces in music history, having earned 12 Grammy Awards, 26 number one R&B hits, more than 200 top 10 R&B, over 50 top 10 pop hits and hundreds of millions of streams and sales worldwide. Industry awards and honors include the Soul Train Music Awards, BMI Awards, NAACP Image Awards, American Music Awards and BET Walk of Fame Award. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Caregivers to people with Alzheimer’s disease are “the true heroes who need support so they can take care of themselves, which ultimately helps them care for the patient. It’s a blessing to use my talent to help people with Alzheimer’s and their families,” Kenny Edmonds told Keep Memory Alive in 2014. His experience with his mother, who died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2012, moved him to become a supporter of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, which each Wednesday presents the Barbara “Spicy Lady” Edmonds Lunch & Learn education series in her memory (clevelandclinic.org/NevadaEvents).

The Impact of the Power of Love
Twenty-five years and millions of dollars later, the impact of the Power of Love gala on patient care is immeasurable. Funds raised by Keep Memory Alive have benefited the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Since opening its doors in downtown Las Vegas in July 2009, the center has delivered more than 220,000 appointments; conducted over 100 clinical research studies; and provided 60,000 educational, therapeutic and support visits to the community. It currently has 6,000 lives in its care.

Photo: Courtesy of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health