Breast Cancer Awareness Meets Tech Innovation at RIBX 2012

May 2, 2012 [Pawtucket] The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation will be among the exhibitors Thursday, May 3rd participating in the one-day Rhode Island Business Expo (RIBX) at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence. This 2012 appearance marks the third year in a row at RIBX for Rhode Island’s largest and most influential breast cancer organization.

 In an exhibit entitled “Bringing Awareness 2 Tomorrow,” The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation’s RIBX focus will be the use of technology to raise breast cancer awareness across generations. In keeping with this premise, the display at RIBX Thursday will be a multifaceted one, from a recording studio on wheels to an inventive t-shirt campaign and a redesigned website.

The integration of technological innovations into the work of raising breast cancer awareness is not just about “bells and whistles,” according to Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation Director of Special Events Brian Sawyer.

“On the contrary,” reasoned Sawyer, “technology will play a vital role in the future effort not only to spread information about the disease itself to the public but also to tailor advice and instruction to the needs of younger Rhode Islanders who might not even know they’re vulnerable.”

In the service of broadening the potential audience for elevated breast cancer awareness, The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation has been developing three forward-thinking innovations, each of which will be featured at RIBX.

“Expressions of Hope” is a mobile recording unit that travels around the state, memorializing the stories of people touched by breast cancer. “Expressions of Hope” is akin to StoryCorps, the independent nonprofit that uses similar technology to allow Americans to record, share and preserve their stories. “Expressions of Hope” was made possible by a generous grant from The Champlin Foundations.

Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation Executive Director Maria Gemma explained, “These stories connect people in a way that is hard to describe. Healing, awareness and education—those aren’t just abstract concepts when you hear what people have to say about their experiences with breast cancer in a safe and loving environment.”

Gemma concluded, “In this way, ‘Expressions of Hope’ connects Rhode Island’s breast cancer past to its future in a straightforward and meaningful way.”

A brand new t-shirt campaign called “Scan These,” developed to remind women to perform monthly breast self-exams, hasn’t even launched yet but already has people talking. “Scan These” t-shirts have QR (Quick Response) codes, the ubiquitous alternative to traditional UPC barcodes, which can simply be “scanned” with a smartphone to receive information about products, services or, in this case, breast health.

A “next-generation” t-shirt certain to create quite a buzz at RIBX, the QR codes on the women’s shirt accompany the text: “scan these: early detection for breast protection.” A men’s version reads: “Remember…It’s your fight too!”

Sawyer added, “We’re trying to bring a younger audience into the dialogue and the ‘Scan These’ shirts, we think, are the perfect way to do it.”

Finally, a redesigned officially launches on Thursday at RIBX. “This is a real game changer for us,” said Lynn Simon who works on strategic partnership development for The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation. “The site has been completely overhauled with a new user-friendly design and easy navigation.”

Beyond aesthetics, the new will function as a one-stop breast cancer resource for information and products. A hassle-free donation interface, events calendar and links to videos and related online materials are just a few of the new features that have transformed the site. A marketplace featuring Foundation-branded items like books, wellness products and the “Scan These” t-shirts is currently under construction. Smithfield-based Pro Products Web Design redesigned the site.

“The new is constantly being developed and improved,” said Maria Gemma, “like everything we do I hope.”

Gemma concluded, “The Rhode Island Business Expo is timed perfectly to introduce the new site to the public.”

Expected to draw 5,000 attendees, the annual exhibition begins at 10:00 a.m. and wraps up at 5:00 p.m. RIBX is free and open to the public—all you need is your business card. The Rhode Island Convention Center is located at 1 Sabin Street in downtown Providence. For more information please visit The event is the state’s largest and most productive business-to-business educational networking event.

About the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation

The Gloria Gemma Foundation was established in 2004 in loving memory of Gloria J. Gemma and to honor her courageous fight against breast cancer. The organization’s mission is to raise breast cancer awareness; increase breast health education; enhance the quality of life for breast cancer patients, as well as their families and friends; and generate funding for local breast health programs. For more information, please call 401-861-HOPE (4376) or visit

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