On Wednesday December 19, 2012, a new breast cancer awareness center at Millersville University’s Main Campus was named, and Dr. Richard Frerichs was awarded with the President’s Medallion at the Council of Trustees (COT) meeting which took place in Gordinier Hall.
The Diana and Marsha Breast Cancer Awareness Center was named in memory of Diana Lin Durand ‘67, the sister of Dr. Dennis Denenberg, and Marsha Frerichs, the wife of Dr. Frerichs.
Durand and Frerichs were chosen because of their brave battle with breast cancer and their involvement with Millersville. Those who visit the center may learn about breast health, how to do a breast self-examination (BSE), and will recognize the importance of self-checking.
Visitors may also learn about Durand, who was a math whiz and the Editor-in-Chief of The Snapper during her senior year at Millersville, and Frerichs, who was director of the Elderhostel Program at Millersville where she led senior citizens on many adventures.
“I want the world to know how courageous my sister was in her 18 year battle with breast cancer,” stated Denenberg. “What a hero!”
Denenberg, who is now retired, was a professor in the Elementary and Early Childhood Department from 1987 until 2002 at Millersville. He provides funding for the annual Breast-a-ville, a wellness fair that encourages men and women to learn about breast health care while promoting the services that are provided by Millersville. Denenberg also made the proposal to name the center after his sister, Durand, and his friend, Frerichs.
A plaque that reads “The Diana and Marsha Breast Cancer Awareness Center Dedicated November 27, 2012”, rests on top of a felted white sheet that is draped over an HP Printer located inside of room 205 in the MU Health Services Center. It is currently unknown as to when the plaque will be placed onto the wall next to the door of room 205, but a work order has been made for the installation.
Next to the plaque is a table that is set up with four chairs in the corner of the room. On top of the table is a book entitled, “Love Judy: Letters of Hope and Healing for women with Breast Cancer” by Judy Hart, a teacher, and graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard University. She also survived two breast cancers. “Love Judy” chronicles Hart’s personal journey of fighting breast cancer, while providing an array of therapeutic philosophies, methods, and advice.
The Diana and Marsha Breast Cancer Awareness Center combines breast health information with hope and humor. Two bookshelves located to the left of the entrance feature books with titles that range from “A Cancer Battle Plan” to “Grandma, You’re Lopsided!”
A VHS tape entitled “The Mamma Care Method of Breast Self-Examination” is located on one shelf, and Multi-Type BSE Models are located on another shelf. The Multi-Type BSE Models are soft, lifelike models of a breast without lumps, a breast with fibrocystic tissue, and a breast with lumps. They are used as tools to educate women on how to detect a lump, and how to determine the difference between the cancerous lumps and a typical fibrocystic tissue which may be mistaken for a lump.
The two framed photo collages of Durand and Frerichs with their family and friends are placed side-by-side on a wall, and samples of the women’s writings offer personal touches to the room.
“From the photo collages of Diana and Marsha, they (visitors of the center) will learn that even if you have the disease, life can still be wonderful,” explained Denenberg. “Both of these incredible women lived fulfilling lives.”
Dr. Frerichs was also awarded with the Millersville University President’s Medallion at the COT meeting. This award honors and acknowledges contributions to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the commitment to the values of higher education.
“I was humbled and honored. I’m very humbled because there are a lot of other people that have worked as hard, so I was humbled that she [Dr. McNairy] would pick me out,” stated Dr. Frerichs. “I was honored that she would say to me, ‘Hey Rich, you’re a person that’s really been committed to Millersville and I’m going to give you this award.’”
Dr. Frerichs, who worked at Millersville for 36 years, made a number of contributions to the university, some of which include being part of the Dean of Men, working in the office of Financial Aid, working in the Department of Educational Foundations, teaching Foundations of Modern Education, teaching Public Policy to graduate students, and being part of the Presidential Search Committee.
In addition to Mrs. Frerichs’ involvement with various campus activities at Millersville, like her husband Dr. Frerichs, she coached the Penn Manor boys golf team while going through chemotherapy.
“A windy day, like today, would blow her wig off. The boys would laugh and she would laugh with them,” said Dr. Frerichs. “If you met her you would not know that she had breast cancer. She just had that spirit and never felt sorry for herself. She epitomized this spirit that Dennis was looking for when he dedicated the room.”