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2016 Gallery of Hope honors breast cancer survivors, encourages education and awareness

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (March 23, 2016) — Five northeastern Pennsylvania residents recently shared their personal experiences with breast cancer as a way to inspire others who are facing the disease. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield has collected their stories and photos for the 2016 "Gallery of Hope."

Created in 2000, the Gallery of Hope is designed to educate the public about the importance of early detection and treatment in the fight against breast cancer. The 2016 Gallery and the personal stories of the five honorees are now available to view online at the Gallery of Hope website.

The honorees featured in the 2016 Gallery of Hope include:

  • Luzerne County resident Nanci DeSousa, a fitness studio owner and married mother of two who discovered she had stage 1 breast cancer after a mammogram at age 40.
  • Clinton County resident Karen Franz, a paraeducator in the Keystone Central School District and married mother of two who credits her yearly mammograms with discovering her breast cancer early.
  • Lackawanna County resident Tina Kessler-Orner, a retired electronics mechanic leader and mother and sister who discovered her stage 2 breast cancer though self-examinations.
  • Monroe County resident Brenda Hobson, a retired international student coordinator from East Stroudsburg University and grandmother of two who is cancer-free and working to become a licensed minister.
  • Luzerne County resident Gloria Gail Bartlett, a mother of four and grandmother of six who is a two-time breast cancer survivor.

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield serves approximately 3.2 million members through the company’s health care benefits business and employs more than 4,700 people in western and northeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:
Anthony Matrisciano
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield