CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation (BCBSNC Foundation) today unveiled its new, interactive Button Chair exhibit, an innovative art display designed to increase awareness of breast cancer, in hopes of saving lives. The unveiling marks the start of a multi-city tour aimed at delivering breast health messages across the state throughout the rest of 2006 and beyond.
"October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and an ideal time to introduce this interactive and inspirational tool," said Kathy Higgins, president of the BCBSNC Foundation. "Our hope is that through the Button Chair, women across North Carolina will learn more about breast cancer and the importance of mammograms and breast cancer screenings."
Triangle resident Lourdes Ortiz Shelley of Raleigh and Valarie Clark Worthy of Durham are featured as part of the exhibit, and participated in the unveiling. The Button Chair's interactive videos highlight their stories of hope and survival, along with those of three other breast cancer survivors.
"Hearing the word 'cancer' is one of the most frightening moments of anyone's life," said Ortiz Shelley, a five-year breast cancer survivor. "I am here today to tell you that you can win the battle against breast cancer through early detection and treatment. The Button Chair exhibit not only brings messages of hope from cancer survivors, it is a tool to educate women across the state about the importance of screenings and mammograms."
Today's announcement was hosted at Raleigh's YWCA of the Greater Triangle, an organization committed to breast health through its ENCOREplus ® program. ENCOREplus® provides breast cancer early detection education and screening to low-resource, medically underserved women.
A local college student created the Button Chair in 1998 as a tribute to the North Carolina women who have battled breast cancer. The chair features thousands of buttons, each belonging to a victim or survivor of the disease. BCBSNC purchased the chair as part of a breast cancer fundraising auction and created the initial exhibit to anchor the company's breast health initiatives. Since 2001, the Button Chair has been managed by the BCBSNC Foundation and is the focal point of its Breast Health Project.
The BCBSNC Foundation encourages women to learn more about breast cancer, know their body and what is normal for their breasts, and to follow guidelines for mammograms. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the more likely treatment will work. The BCBSNC Foundation Breast Health Project and the Button Chair strive to educate women about the importance of early detection.
The Button Chair will be on display across North Carolina starting with today's kickoff in Raleigh. Scheduled tour stops include the International Furniture Market in High Point, along with public spaces in Greenville and Asheville before returning to the Triangle at the North Carolina Museum of History.
The Button Chair exhibit is also available for display – free of charge – to North Carolina schools, businesses, community groups and other organizations. To secure the chair, please visit
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation:
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, a separate, independent, private, charitable foundation, provides financial support to improve the health and well-being of North Carolinians. This mission is achieved through programs and services funded in response to grant requests, as well as through funding for programs supporting needs identified by the BCBSNC Foundation. Since its inception in November 2000, the BCBSNC Foundation has awarded more than $30 million in grants to organizations throughout the state. In addition to its grant program, the BCBSNC Foundation supports several signature programs. These programs include Be Active KidsSM, an award-winning program that teaches preschool children about nutrition and physical activity; and Healthy Community Institutes for Non-profit Excellence, two-day intensive training sessions offered free of charge to all North Carolina nonprofits. Additional information about the BCBSNC Foundation's signature programs and grant requirements, as well as a list of all grants awarded can be found on our Web site at