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Raising Money and Raising Awareness One Selfless Act at a Time

Jan 05, 2017 04:00PM ● By Nicole Gould

Photos Courtesy of Bosom Buddies Charity

After her mother became a breast cancer survivor, Biana Arentz felt compelled to do something, so she decided to give back to the community and become a member of the Bosom Buddies Charity, which advocates and fundraises toward breast cancer awareness and research.

Outside of her full-time job as a Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent, Arentz has been a member of the Bosom Buddies Charities for the last 11 years and currently sits as the Chair of this nonprofit organization. During her time with the charity, Arentz has been a part of a community that not only raises money, but is constantly raising awareness.

“I think the most important part is our mission statement and what we stand for, which is to promote breast cancer awareness, encourage early detection, support treatment, and celebrate healing.” – Biana Arentz

Most recently, the Bosom Buddies Charity was honored with a street on the Anne Arundel Medical Center Campus called Bosom Buddies Way after raising $1.5 million in donations. If you haven’t seen it, head around Belcher Pavilion, where it used to be called West Drive, and you’ll see the pink sign with white lettering on both ends of the street. You won’t want to miss it!

Join Arentz, Governor Larry Hogan, and the rest of the Bosom Buddies Committee in the fight against breast cancer at the 2017 Bosom Buddies Ball this Saturday, January 7th, 5:30 p.m. at the Westin Annapolis Hotel. Tickets are $250 per person.

Photos Courtesy of Bosom Buddies Charity

How did you find out about the Bosom Buddies Charities and what originally got you involved? Did you have any personal connections to the charity?

Bossom Buddies was started by one of my friends, Susan Ponchock, who is a breast cancer survivor. It was her, another lady, Martha, and myself that got together in 2006. My mother is a breast cancer survivor and a couple of my friends had survived breast cancer at the time and I thought it was the right thing to do. I had always been very involved in giving back to the community. However, I did think I would do this for a couple of years, not 11 years.

I know that your daughter, who is currently 19, became a member of the Bosom Buddies Ball Committee when she was 12. What made her want to be a part of this committee at such a young age? Do you enjoy working with your daughter?

She and my son, for the last 10 years, have been very involved with Bosom Buddies, especially because a lot of meetings are at my house. When Elizabeth was 10, she started helping and when she was 12, she became a member of the committee. It was a way of her giving back as well. There was a wonderful article written about her and the concept of starting philanthropy when your children are young, which I think is very important.

Oh, I love it, it makes it even more special. I’m 58 years old and my daughter is 40 years younger than me and I just think it’s so amazing to see so much of myself in her. Especially in regards to philanthropy. The younger generation just looks at things differently so it’s always great to have the different perspectives.

As the Chair of the charity, what types of responsibilities do you have?

One of the most important things we do as board members, and we have a board of eight, is the responsibility of the money that we raise, where that money goes, and what grants we give out. I think that’s one of the most important things.

We have raised a substantial amount of money and I am delighted with my board of directors right now. Elizabeth DeCesaris is the boards chair and had breast cancer at 33. It’s just a different perspective. Not only is she a breast cancer survivor, but she is 25 years younger than I am.

Are you or have you ever been a part of any other nonprofit organizations? If so, what are they?

I was on the board of trustees of Anne Arundel Medical Center for nine years and I’m very involved with Hospice Compass in Queen Anne’s County. I am actually now on the foundation board of Anne Arundel Medical Center.

I just got a wonderful award as part of the Bay Area Association of Realtors. I was awarded the 2017 community service award, which is wonderful. It’s recognition from you peers for what you do for the community.

Photos Courtesy of Bosom Buddies Charity

Can you tell me a little bit more about the Bosom Buddies Ball and why it’s so important?

The main thing is it’s the way of raising money for the organization. Every year we’ve had a different theme. The first one took place at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club and we found that we needed more space and that’s when we moved to the Westin. In a lot of ways, it was a good decision because we could fit more guests, but mostly because breast cancer doesn’t discriminate on location. We wanted to be able to help patients on both sides (Eastern Shore and Western). The ball is our major fundraiser.

How and where do you decide the funds raised from the ball will be distributed?

The charity was really started for a digital mammogram machine at the Anne Arundel Medical Center. Once that was raised, we tried to keep the funds on the Eastern Shore because a lot of women were from there. The charity has evolved a little more than we expected. We’re still helping AAMC, but also helped Shore Health, Columbia Hospital, and Howard Hospital. We are giving grants to different communities. I think the main thing for where the grants go is where they are needed and where people request. The majority of our funds raised have gone to AAMC.

In your opinion, what are the most important issues today involving breast cancer: awareness, research, demographic education?

I actually think it’s a combination of breast cancer awareness in the younger population. One of the things distributing and worries me is how many younger women are having it. When my mother had it, she was in her early 70s. However, now you have women that are working out and in great shape and end up with breast cancer. I think one of the things Bosom Buddies has done through a program called, Show You Care, Be Aware, is go into the high schools and have talked to the young women about being aware not only for themselves but for their mothers. It’s about awareness and education.

Are males a relevant demographic affected by breast cancer? What role do they help play in the charity (both giving and receiving)?

You know there are males that have breast cancer and one of our committee member’s brother had it. But, we emphasize not that they’re less important, but the majority are women who have it. It’s not common for men, but obviously, it does happen.

What was it like for the Anne Arundel Medical Center to name a street Bosom Buddies Way on behalf of the charity?

Oh, I think that was wonderful. We have a $1.5 million pledge which we hope to finish this upcoming year. In honor of that amount of money, they named [the street] Bosom Buddies Way. I had a call last week from a woman who had her mammogram done and she said “Biana you can’t imagine how much I enjoyed having to take a left on Bossom Buddies Way, it was wonderful. What you have done is amazing.” It’s a pink sign, which is one of the few directional signs in the state.

What makes the Bosom Buddies Charities different then the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation?

Think the number one difference is we are all volunteers, no one gets paid. The board, the committee members, and events are all run by volunteers. One hundred percent of our proceeds go to breast cancer. We have no administrative responsibilities. Everything is volunteer.

Photos Courtesy of Bosom Buddies Charity

In your mind, what is the most important part of the Bosom Buddies Charity?

I think the most important part is our mission statement and what we stand for, which is to promote breast cancer awareness, encourage early detection, support treatment, and celebrate healing. And obviously, the ball is part of the celebration of healing.

Every year we have an honoree. Tanya Snyder, wife of Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, is the honoree. One of my dear friends, Laurie Rasinski, was an honoree and passed away early this year. When things like this happen, you realize you’re not doing it just to raise money, you’re doing it because there is a person who really keeps you motivated to try to help others. Laurie had stage 4 for nine years.