FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — In the heart of downtown Frederick, a remarkable woman is striving to create a new future for others diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I was diagnosed in August of 1999, never forget the day that the doctor calls and says ‘you have breast cancer.’” said Patty Hurwitz.
Co-president of Colonial Jewelers Patty Hurwitz started the “Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund” after her diagnosis.
“It was two in the morning and I was looking out over the city and it was so calm and peaceful but it wasn’t home,” said Hurwitz. “So that’s when I came up with this idea of wouldn’t it be great if we could work towards this goal of having it right here in Frederick for all women at home.”
The Hurwitz’s Breast Cancer Fund has been able to raise $2 million from community events and galas. The money goes to patients in Frederick County and also helped create Frederick Memorial Hospital’s Women’s Center.
“She was hit with a diagnosis, and she took that and turned it around and used that experience in her life to benefit those around her.” said FMH Breast Surgeon and Medical Director Dr. Susan Bahl.
FMH’s Women’s Center serves nearly 1,000 patients each year with their mission to help a person who is diagnosed with breast cancer. The idea behind the center is to create a home for patients without the drive.
“Having the center here eliminates the travel that patients have to do, they can get all their local care here without having to travel and that’s a big deal when you’re dealing with so many other stressful things around a diagnosis.” said Dr. Bahl.
Hurwitz’s goals and aspirations didn’t stop in Frederick County, but instead expanded around the state and internationally. Patty and her husband Jeff use their farmland to grow enough crops to ship the proceeds to developing countries around the world. The initiative is called the Growing Hope Globally .
“It’s helping teach their farmers to farm in more effective ways,” said Grossnickle Church Pastor Tim Ritchey Martin. “So it’s farmer to farmer, and it’s a program operated in a particular country by people from that country. It’s really effective and I think it’s how the hunger problem will be solved.
10 churches in Frederick and Washington County use their resources to not only donate food, but educate farmers to grow their communities needs. Hurwitz has spearheaded several projects for 15 years and raised $350,000 to give globally.
“One of the things that I really appreciate about her passion for helping people is that it has been local through her breast cancer work and through Brooklane, but also it’s been global,” said Ritchey Martin. “It’s helping people half a world away.”
Hurwitz has dedicated her life to improving the lives of breast cancer patients in Frederick and the lives of millions in underdeveloped countries, and her reason is simple.
“The Frederick Community, this is now here and available to them that they don’t have to go down the road and leave their families, it’s pretty amazing.” said Hurwitz.
Hurtwitz also serves on the Brooklane board, serving the community’s mental health needs for nine years.
Patty Hurwitz is one of four finalists in WDVM’s Remarkable Women 2020 contest. Each Tuesday this month, we’re sharing the story of our finalists, who were chosen from over dozens of nominations for the remarkable work they do in the local community.