This Means War Against Breast Cancer

Helping Trumbull County Survivors Wage War Against Breast Cancer

Our inspiration

Meet our past honorees

2020 honoree: Cortney Johns

Cortney Johns, from Leavittsburg, was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer at age 29 in April 2019 and has undergone chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries. 

We picked Cortney because she has that warrior spirit. She's determined to beat breast cancer not only for herself, but for her husband, Anthony, and their two children Anthony Jr., 8, and Savannah, 6. We also selected her because she and her family needed our help to stay financially afloat.
Thank you for your support in helping Cortney wage war against breast cancer!

2019 honoree: Michelle Tringhese

The 9th Annual This Means War 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament & Chinese Auction was held to benefit  Michelle Tringhese.

Michelle, 44, of Girard, was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in August 2018. When we met her, the 1993 Girard High School graduate already had survived chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, including an emergency surgery after she developed an infection. She was undergoing radiation at the time. 

Besides the steep out-of-pocket costs associated with those treatments, Michelle, a mental health counselor at Preferred Care Counseling, also had lost thousands of dollars in income because her treatments and doctor appointments prevented her from seeing clients.

Michelle, her husband, William, and their children, Zaynah, 13, and Zachary, 11, already had been through a lot. They nearly lost their home in 2013 when William's manufacturing job was relocated and the Vienna plant was closed. William has since landed a job as a machinist at Ajax TOCCO Magnethermic Corp.

The fundraiser helped lift Michelle and her family through the difficult time. 

To view photos from the fundraiser, click here: 2019 Fundraiser photos

To find the list of Chinese Auction winners, click here: 2019 Chinese Auction winners

To see which teams won their division in the 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, click here: 2019 Basketball Winners

Read the Tribune Chronicle's story about Michele here: "I've always been a helper"

Read the Tribune Chronicle's story about the event here: Community hoops it up in Southington for breast cancer survivors

2018 honoree: Jessica Gardner

The 8th Annual This Means War 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament & Chinese Auction benefited Jessica Gardner. 

Jessica, a Niles resident, was 33 years old and eight-months pregnant when she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in December 2016. Ten days after giving birth to Savannah, Jessica underwent surgery to remove a tumor bigger than a baseball and other cancerous tissue from her right breast. Multiple surgeries – including a hysterectomy and breast reconstruction surgery – as well as chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation have followed.
Just her reconstruction surgery cost her roughly $5,500 (and that’s after health insurance!). The bill doesn’t include any of the out-of-pocket costs for her follow-up appointments. Nor does it include the expenses associated with the medication Jessica must take for the next 20 years to deter new cancer cells from forming.
While Jessica, a Brookfield High School English teacher, banked enough sick days to cover most of her time off work, her family has lost thousands of dollars in income because her husband, Brian, missed work so he could attend Jessica’s doctor appointments and surgeries.

Jessica sent us this message following the fundraiser:

"To the This Means War organization, I am 100% indebted to you. Today was more than I ever imagined it would be." 

See the photos from the event: War for Jessica

Read the Tribune Chronicle's story about Jessica: Brookfield teacher diagnosed with breast cancer when 8 months pregnant

Read the Tribune Chronicle's story about the event:  Tourney wages war on breast cancer

2017 honoree: Alexandria Baker

The 7th Annual This Means War 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament & Chinese Auction benefited Alexandria Baker of Warren.

Alex, 27, was diagnosed on March 21 with Stage II breast cancer and underwent six rounds of chemotherapy treatment, surgery and radiation.

When we met Alex, the log auditor at Falcon Transport in Youngstown already had begun to fall behind on her bills because she has been forced to miss weeks of work to recover from her aggressive chemotherapy treatment and to attend her frequent doctor appointments. She had worried that she would be forced to make difficult financial decisions that could impact her daughters, Isabella, 7, and Arianna, 5.

Thanks to the fundraiser, Alex has been able to pay her bills and watch her daughters grow without the additional financial stress.

Following the fundraiser, Alex sent us this message: 

"October 14, 2017 will forever remain in heart ❤️ As this was one of the most amazing and memorable experience I’ve ever been a part of! I’ve gotten to do so many things in my adult life but nothing could top this! The support from the community alone was astounding, everything was just perfect.😍 I’ll forever remain grateful for this opportunity.🙏. Can’t wait to see next years event and be there for the new honoree. Thank you so much for everyone’s support and most importantly to This Means War: Waging War Against Breast Cancer 💕💞💖"

To view the hundreds of photos taken at the event, visit: War for Alex

To see a list of the Basketball Tournament winners, click: 2017 Basketball Winners

2016 honoree: Erica Immel

The 6th Annual This Means War 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament & Chinese Auction on Oct. 8, 2016 supported Erica Immel of Girard. It brought some much needed financial relief for Erica and her then 5-year-old twins, Star and Lily. Erica had faced mounting medical bills due to a high-insurance deductible and large copays related to her treatment to beat her Stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis.

We have posted more than 500 photos from the event. Click here to view them: War for Erica 2016 

To see a list of the winners for the Chinese Auction, click here: 2016 Chinese Auction Winners

To see a list of the 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament Winners, click here: 2016 Basketball Winners

2015 honoree: Heather Booth

On Oct. 17, 2015, more than 400 people attended the 5th Annual This Means War 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament & Chinese Auction and helped raised money for breast cancer survivor Heather Booth of Howland.

Heather, a mother of three, was diagnosed in February 2015 at age 30 with Stage II  breast cancer after discovering a lump one morning while getting ready to take her daughters roller skating.

Heather, who also has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and endometriosis within the past five years, no longer can work as a home health aide, had to rely on the income of her husband, Josh, who works at Exal in Youngstown. They used the money raised at the fundraiser to pay down Heather's medical bills.

Heather and Josh, who attend House of Praise in Newton Falls, grew up in McDonald before buying a home for their family in Howland. They are the proud parents of Destiny, 12, Suzanna, 9, and Sarah, 6, who all are students at Howland schools.

Check out the photos from the 2015 event here: Waging War for Heather 2015.

To see the Tribune Chronicle story about our event, click here: Filling Baskets

2014 honoree: Amy (Gardner) Turek

The fourth annual This Means War 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament & Chinese Auction was a great success! Our fundraiser beneficiary, Amy (Gardner) Turek, was overwhelmed by all the support and said the event provided a much needed emotional lift.

Check out the photos here:

To view a list of Chinese Auction winners, click here: Winners. 

Read the Tribune Chronicle's story about the event:  War on breast cancer enters fourth year

2013 honoree: Cyndi DeMoss

Cyndi DeMoss of Champion Township was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in October 2009 when her cancer spread to her lymph nodes and liver. Even though her cancer was in the advanced-stages, Cyndi had to wait for more than two years for her Medicare coverage to begin. She and husband, Dave, saw the medical bills begin to mount, yet Cyndi, a former licensed practical nurse, could not return to work due her cancer treatments. Cyndi will undergo those same treatments every month for the rest of her life in order to keep her cancer from returning.

2012 honoree: Debbie West

2012: Debbie West

Debbie West of Bristol was diagnosed in March 2012 with Stage IV Triple Negative Breast Cancer.  Adopted as a baby, Debbie never knew her biological family’s medical history or her cancer risks, yet learned the importance of early detection when she witnessed the disease’s painful grip on her adopted mother who died of cancer at age 57. For years Debbie dutifully got an annual mammogram, but it was her own self-exam that found the golf-ball-sized lump.

At the time of her diagnosis, Debbie had no health insurance and had to quit he job at Lowe’s Home Improvement Store due to her aggressive chemotherapy treatments. With her husband, Shawn, receiving a fixed monthly Medicaid check due to a neck injury he suffered years ago, the family had no means to increase its income and soon began to fall behind on the medical bills.

2011 honoree: Beth Ann Vanek

Beth Ann Vanek of Southington Township was diagnosed at age 30 with Triple Negative Breast Cancer, a rare and aggressive disease that doesn’t respond to typical treatment options and has a poor prognosis.

While Beth Ann, a former oncology nurse, felt fortunate to have good health insurance and the support of my family, she and her husband, Chuck, still faced thousands of dollars in debt due to medical co-pays and deductibles that would have taken them years to pay.

In July 2011, friends and family held the inaugural This Means 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament & Chinese Auction to help offset some of Beth Ann’s medical expenses. The event was such a success and blessing to Beth Ann and her family that in April 2012, the group officially became registered as a nonprofit – Beth Ann Vanek This Means War Against Breast Cancer – to help other Trumbull County survivors wage war against breast cancer.  The group’s  “This Means War” name honors the mantra Beth Ann used during her chemotherapy treatments when she chose not to let her fear surrounding her diagnosis sabotage her journey to wellness.

Vanek, now a hospice nurse at Robinson Memorial Hospital, lives in Southington with her husband, Chuck, their three children, Mikayla, Charlotte, and Walker.

How you can help

Every dollar of your tax-deductible donation is put toward helping breast cancer survivors with their out-of-pocket medical expenses. Our board members and volunteers are not paid.

Send your tax-deductible donation to:

This Means War Against Breast Cancer Inc.

P.O. Box 223

Southington, Ohio 44470

Or donate through Paypal by clicking the button below: