Frisco’s Extraordinary Women of Hope

Today, seven extraordinary women were announced as National Breast Cancer Foundation’s 2018 Women of Hope Award Winners. These outstanding women epitomize optimism, service, advocacy, and community spirit. They were nominated based on their significant leadership and contributions to the North Texas community.

The 2018 winners and nominees were honored at the Women of Hope Award Luncheon today at Verona Villa. The luncheon, hosted by National Breast Cancer Foundation and presented by Nature Nate’s Honey Co., celebrated the achievements of Frisco’s leading ladies in the fight against breast cancer.

Lifestyle Frisco is thrilled to congratulate each of these remarkable women and share their inspiring achievements.

2018 Award Nominees and WINNERS

1. COURAGE/SURVIVOR Awards Finalists – A survivor who has faced her diagnosis with courage & strength

WINNER – Billye Peery

Billye Peery is a three time breast cancer survivor. She gained her strength to fight the dreaded disease through the loving concern and prayers of her family, her church family and friends. While going through various surgeries and treatment she was confident nothing was going to happen to her that had not already passed through God’s filter of love. Her anchor is II Corinthians 12:9 which says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect for you in your weakness.

Billye and her husband Ed, have been married for 52 years. She worked beside Ed, who served as a Baptist pastor for 40 years, in both California and Texas. They have two awesome children and 5 very special grandchildren. Her hobbies are reading and floral design. Billye keeps very busy with her husband and daughter as co-owners of Simply Blessed Flowers in Frisco. Her motto is, “I am blessed!”

Angela Carmichael

Angela Carmichael is currently part of the Treasury Management Department at PlainsCapital Bank. Miss Carmichael has 16 years of experience in the financial industry and has been with PlainsCapital for the last 7 years covering the Dallas/Fort Worth Regions.

Angela began her breast cancer journey in July 2017, when she discovered a lump in her right breast. She acted quickly, had a bilateral mastectomy in September 2017 and completed her chemotherapy treatments in March 2018. Carmichael will begin radiation therapy this summer and will conclude her treatment with reconstructive surgery later in the year.

Angela has been a Jazzercise Instructor for the past 6 years in both Carrollton and Irving. She believes working out continuously combined with the love and support from her family and friends has helped her maintain a positive mind and spirit through her journey.

Amy Patel

Amy Patel has worked for Toyota for over 23 years and is currently the Customer Resolution and Performance Strategy National Manager in the Toyota Customer Experience Center. Prior to her work in Customer Experience, she spent 15 years working in the field at several of Toyota’s Parts Distribution Centers (PDCs) and managing the warehouse Management System (WMS) deployment.

In January 2012, Amy was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer. She spent a year in treatment that included chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. She recently celebrated her five-year survivor anniversary making her connection to the pink ribbon a permanent fixture in her life.

2. ADVOCATE Awards Finalists – Someone who publicly supports the cause of breast cancer

WINNER – Sue de Mille Minyard

Sue has enjoyed retirement since 2001 after serving over 25 years in various management positions at A.J. Industries and later as co-owner of some of the subsidiaries spun-off as a result of M&A activity. A.J. Industries was founded in 1897 as a gold mining company in Alaska and evolved in to a multi-division publicly traded conglomerate in the 1970’s followed by a return to private status through an LBO. Sue began her career with A.J. as a secretary and evolved to CFO.

The interest in breast cancer screening began after retirement when Sue read a Wall Street Journal article on the latest developments in digital mammography. Sue approached THR in Plano and offered to “add this machine to their budget” and to also do a makeover of the women’s center where screenings took place. This later led to other major projects including the de Milleville pediatric center and remodeling of a doctor’s lounge and surgeon’s lounge.

Sue is a founding member of Star Children’s Charity and has supported Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center, AIDS Services of North Texas and Wednesday’s Child. She and her husband also support The Arts Center of North Texas (formerly Arts of Collin County), Bob Foss Institute, Eliya School for blind children in Israel and served on the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Board of Trustees and Community Advisory Board and led fundraising for the Hope Garden being dedicated in May of 2018.

April Samuels 

April Samuels is passionate about two things in life: drumming and fighting breast cancer. April got her first drumsticks when she was five years old and began drumming professionally when she was 19.

Still performing professionally at 41, she was hit with the shocking news that she had a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer. She made the decision quickly to have a double mastectomy without reconstruction, in order to speed up her recovery time and to lessen any further risk to her health through surgeries. While still recovering from her double mastectomy, April coined the slogan “Breast Cancer Can Stick It!” and began selling shirts to raise funds in the fight against breast cancer.

A big part of the funds raised are through the Breast Cancer Can Stick It! annual Drummathon event. In its fourth year, Drummathon is a festival-like experience featuring vendor booths, food trucks, along with drum solos by the 35 top fundraisers, performances by local musicians, celebrity drummer performances as well as an opportunity to play alongside a celebrity on a second drum kit. The Drummathon celebrity alumni includes drummers from P!NK, Jason Aldean, Big & Rich, Jack Ingram, Ace Frehley, Ozzy, Dio, and Joan Jett.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis

With over 20 years intra- and entrepreneurial experience, Wendi is the Co-Founder and CEO of Lifestyle Frisco is a hyper-local, digital-first, multi-media company that focuses on storytelling across multiple platforms in Frisco, Texas.

Combining creativity with digital expertise as a lifestyle and culture concierge in Frisco, Texas, Wendi uses her expertise in business strategy, digital marketing, and emerging media to advocate for and shine the spotlight on all the people who create the fabric of Frisco.

Wendi’s experience includes:
* Consulting to Fortune 10 firms, medium companies, and over seventy-five small businesses
* Entrepreneurial mind-set
* Published author and sought-after panelist on digital and omnichannel strategy, branding, online marketing, content strategy, and mobile topics
* Thinks at the highest strategic levels and yet is not above the day-to-day work that gets things done

3. CAREGIVER of the Year Finalists – A caregiver who puts the needs of others ahead of their own

WINNER – Carrie Himel

Carrie Himel is a Realtor, Entrepreneur, Adventurer, Community advocate, Wife, and Mother. Carrie has been in North Texas for 19 years, most of those in Frisco living, playing and raising her blended family of 7 with her husband Daniel.

Carrie began her career with The Cheney Group in 2005 on the marketing team. After investing in the local real estate market flipping homes she made the move to the Real Estate side of the business. Carrie has been in North Texas for 19 years, most of those in Frisco living, playing and raising her family.

When Carrie’s not helping her clients buy or sell their dream home at the award-winning Cheney group, you can probably find her at a baseball field. She is Co-Founder of Texas most popular youth baseball tournament, Middle School Matchup, that she and her husband created for their oldest son. She also pens a fun weekly email called 3 Things Thursday where she sends out 3 bite-size easy to incorporate life hacks.

Donna Keaton

Donna Keaton has a surgical technology certificate from Amarillo College and has spent the majority of her adult life in the operating room assisting surgeons. She is a mom, advocate, friend and prayer warrior.

With three strong, intelligent daughters and two grandchildren (with one on the way!), Donna lost the love of her life last year. She is currently navigating uncharted waters without him, and she recently embarked on a new career in real estate and joined The Judi Wright Team at Ebby Halliday.

4. MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL of the Year Finalists – A medical professional who goes above and beyond for their patients as they face one of life’s greatest challenges

WINNER – Karen E. Anderson, MHA, BSRT (R), (M)

Karen Anderson is the Manager at the Parkland Comprehensive Breast Center in Dallas, Texas.(2012-Present). Karen earned her Master in Health Care Administration in 2014. She has been a Registered Mammography Technologist since 1996.

Karen’s primary goal for this center is its delivery of Breast cancer screening and diagnosis as well as the continuum of care for the underserved community of Dallas County. Karen has been awarded Susan G. Komen funds for several years to serve the “AT RISK” zip code areas and underserved population.

Karen has received many accolades for her service to the community including becoming a Top 25 technologist from the North Texas Radiologist Society for her dedication of imaging services in Dallas. Karen most recent accomplishment the “I am more than Pink” award from Susan G. Komen foundation. Karen was the 1st recipient of this award in Dallas Texas. The award is presented to a person fighting to improve the lives of Breast Cancer Patients.

In 2007, Karen joined McKesson Technologies as a Clinical Systems Analyst to focus on development of their Breast Imaging Module Application for Picture Archive Communications Systems (PACS). This system allows Breast Imaging Radiologist to use to review images to render a diagnosis for patients. Karen has been honored with a Resolution by the Dallas County Commissioner Court for her contribution of fighting breast Cancer in the African American and Hispanic communities in Dallas, Texas 3 years in a row.

Dr. Meghan Hansen

Dr. Meghan Hansen is a board-certified, fellowship-trained breast surgeon with Texas Breast Specialists in Frisco, McKinney and Plano. Dr. Hansen specializes in the management of breast disease from benign breast issues to breast cancer.

Originally from Iowa, Dr. Hansen received her medical degree from the University of Iowa School of Medicine and completed her residency at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her breast surgical oncology fellowship was completed at UT Southwestern in Dallas.

Dr. Hansen believes in partnering with patients and being available to them during their entire cancer journey. She is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Breast Surgeons, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Society of Surgical Oncology.

5. LEGACY/FAMILY of the Year Finalists – Someone who has passed away and left an honorable legacy

Gwynn McGregor (May 11, 1957 – March 17, 2017)

Gwynn McGregor was a compassionate, fun loving woman. Gwynn grew up in Hinesville, Georgia in which her family became a staple in the community. She later moved to Dallas, Texas where she started her 25 year career with Delta Airlines and also met the love of her life, Alan McGregor.

They planted roots in Grapevine and had two sons Robert and Chris. Gwynn had a passion for her Lord, Jesus Christ, and that spirit overflowed into all of her relationships. She was intentional about making others feel welcomed and loved. Gwynn fought her battle with cancer with perseverance.

Even as the news came down for the worse she continued to have a good attitude and see both her first grandchild be born and her youngest son married. We mourn her loss and deeply miss her presence but she leaves a legacy of love in her wake that we all aspire to.

In addition to these winners, two individuals were honored with special awards from NBCF Founder & CEO, Janelle Hail.

Founder’s Award 

WINNER – Ann Harris 

Awarded directly from Founder, Janelle Hail, Ann Harris, wife of former NBA Coach Del Harris, has played an active role in her community. Besides philanthropic giving through their foundation, Ann volunteers her time to various local charities.

She has been involved in City, County and FISD School Board elections and serves as a neighborhood representative on her HOA. She and Del served as the Development Chairs for the Frisco expansion of City House, a Transitional Living Program serving homeless teens 18-21 years old.

In 2013, Ann was selected as one of the Top Ten Women in Collin County representing City House. Ann is a cofounder of The Frisco Giving Tree. Since its inception in 2012, this group has given over $100,000 to families and others in Frisco who are in crisis. In 2016, Ann received the Spirit of Frisco Award from the Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Spirit of Collaboration Award by the Junior League of Collin County. As a breast cancer survivor, Ann is honored to be on the host committee for Ladies Night Out for A Purpose to bring awareness, and raise funds so that one hundred uninsured women can get a free mammogram.

Lifetime Achievement Award & Keynote Speaker

WINNER – Lillie Shockney

Lillie D. Shockney, a two-time breast cancer survivor. Ms. Shockney began her distinguished career of service as a registered nurse and is a prominent leader in breast cancer advocacy. She’s currently Director of the Johns Hopkins Breast Center, the Director of the cancer survivorship programs at the Johns Hopkins Cancer Center and Professor of Surgery and Oncology at Johns Hopkins. Ms. Shockney’s life’s work is in the treatment of breast cancer and advocacy for those who face this fight.

Lillie is a published author and nationally recognized public speaker on the subject of breast cancer.  She has written 15 books and more than 250 articles on this subject, and, she serves on the medical advisory board of several national breast cancer organizations.

The 2018 Women of Hope Award luncheon was an inspiring and heartfelt celebration of the award winners, nominees, families and supporters who all contribute to the fight against breast cancer. The afternoon at Verona Villa was a special time for the women of Frisco and all those impacted by breast cancer.

“Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”  ~~ Helen Keller

In the fight against breast cancer, there’s so much to be done and so much need for hope and confident action. We’re very fortunate as a community to have these extraordinary Women of Hope. They are women who inspire, women who lead, and women who get things done. We congratulate the 2018 Women of Hope winners, thank them for their important work, and celebrate their inspiring contributions.