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"Cancer Awareness" Spotlight Shines on Deirdre Imus

 

Among those at the award ceremony in Washington D.C. were (l-r): U.S. Representative Harold Ford, Jr.; honoree Deirdre Imus; Lisa McGovern, Executive Director of the Conngressional Family Action for Cancer Awareness Program; U.S. Representative James P. McGovern; and Teresa Heinz Kerry, chair of The Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies. U.S. Senator John Kerry is pictured with Mrs. Imus below (right).           


 

 Hackensack, NJ – Highlighting a life devoted to protecting children and environmental health, The Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation recognized Deirdre Imus with its 13th annual “Excellence in Cancer Awareness” award at a ceremony in Washington., D.C., September 29.

The Congressional Families Action for Cancer Awareness program is a network of more than 110 congressional, administration, and Supreme Court spouses committed to reducing cancer incidence through education and prevention. The program is led by Executive Director and governed by an Executive Council and Advisory Board consisting of Congressional spouses.

Deirdre Imus is the President and founder of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology® – part of Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC), a not-for-profit corporation – that developed the award-winning Greening the Cleaning® program. She is also co-founder and co-director of the Imus Ranch, a 4,000 acre working cattle ranch in northern New Mexico, which provides the experience of the American cowboy to children suffering from cancer and various blood diseases, and to the siblings of children who have been victims of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The specific mission of the Environmental Center is to identify, control, and ultimately prevent environmental factors that may cause adult and especially pediatric cancers.

Toxins in Everything

In her speech, Mrs. Imus highlighted the environmental issue: “Ninety percent of all cancers are believed to result from toxins in the environment,” she said. “Toxins are in our food, water, air, our entire environment…in the foods we eat and the products we use – nearly everything.” She called for stronger measures to protect the public and stronger enforcement. “Greater awareness of toxins in the environment will cause the public to demand action,” she said.

"Despite progress in prolonging the survival of those with cancer," Mrs. Imus noted, “Cancer rates are actually increasing, not decreasing. 570,000 Americans will still die from cancer this year, and children’s cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease.” The annual award honors corporate leaders, athletes and other high-profile citizens who reflect “a commitment to cancer prevention and the spreading of awareness on a public platform.” It is part of the Foundation’s Congressional Families Action for Cancer Awareness program. Past honorees have included Katie Couric, Curt Schilling and former first lady Barbara Bush.

Earlier this year, New York Governor George Pataki recognized Deirdre Imus in his State of the State Address for her time and energy in raising awareness of the hazards of chemical cleaning products. Stemming from a promise made that day, the Governor signed a law in August requiring the use of less-toxic products by state agencies.

One of the Environmental Center’s most important programs is the award-winning Greening the Cleaning® program. Organizations implementing it to date span the hospitality industry, healthcare, government, businesses and schools. In addition, a line of household products will be available by November through The Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer (imusranchfoods.com).

Greening the Cleaning® means eliminating to the greatest extent possible, all cleaning agents containing hazardous ingredients and replacing them with environmentally responsible, less-toxic products that utilize natural or naturally-derived ingredients, and ingredients from renewable resources whenever possible.

Among other things, Greening the Cleaning® products must contain no known or probable human carcinogens, mutagens or teratogens; and no ozone depleting compounds, greenhouse gasses or substances that contribute to smog. The line contains no aerosols, and all products are readily biodegradable. In addition, unlike many traditional cleaning products, all ingredients are disclosed on the label.

The program began in 2001, when the Environmental Center instituted a hospital-wide Greening the Cleaning® initiative at Hackensack University Medical Center to replace potentially toxic cleaning products with more environmentally responsible products. For their efforts, the Environmental Center and HUMC were awarded The Phillip M. Scanlan Environmental Award from Quality New Jersey (QNJ), and recognized by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) with the 2001 Environmental Award for Excellence.

Hackensack University Medical Center, a teaching and research hospital affiliated with The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey - New Jersey Medical School, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state of New Jersey.

For more information about Greening the Cleaning®, visit dienviro.org, or call The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at 551-336-8071.

 
 

 

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