Huller, a retired business executive and supply chain management consultant, was appointed to the Antrim County High Tea Board of Directors when it was first organized in 2006 and has been actively involved in developing strategic partnerships with medical service providers, which resulted in 200 screenings last year, compared to 22 in 2004. He says his primary goals for his three-year term are to expand their education and awareness efforts and to increase the number of low-income and uninsured women from Antrim County, who receive a mammogram every year through the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, to 350.
There was no Board of Directors when former teachers Dee Lynch and Jane VanEtten decided to raise money for breast cancer prevention in 2004, just a desire to help Antrim County residents prevent breast cancer. From their first fund-raiser, a British-style high tea--served using participants' fine china, crystal, and silverware--these two volunteers have watched the High Tea develop into one of Antrim County's most important organizations. Today, the Antrim County High Tea for Breast Cancer Prevention, with nine committees and guided by a Board of Directors, boasts over 200 volunteers, all working toward one goal: to reduce deaths from breast cancer in the county.
Lynch will continue to be involved in the High Tea in the new role of Past President, serving as liaison for an upcoming fundraiser and pursuing corporate donations to support the High Tea's mission. "I'm not ready to totally give up my involvement in raising awareness about breast cancer. I've taken a break from public speaking on the national level, but now I can resume my role as National Director of Special Events and Spokesperson for the National Breast Cancer Foundation."
"Everyone involved in the High Tea is close to my heart," she said. "But I have lots of other interests that I can pursue now by stepping back a bit." Lynch said she will be very involved with the University of Michigan, teaching several classes on community services in the School of Education and serving as co-chair of U of M's Northern Michigan Alumni Scholarship Association, which distributes scholarships to 5 to 10 high school students per year. "I'm also writing a memoir, using journals I've kept since I was a girl. It will be about my journey and will include my daughter Susan's death from breast cancer and how that led me to the High Tea," she said.
"Antrim County has the highest death rate from breast cancer in the state," Huller said. "We know mammograms can identify cancers early, when they are easier to treat. That is why encouraging women to get regular mammograms is so important."
"It is an honor for me to take over as the High Tea's new president," Huller added. "Dee and Jane started a remarkable organization, unique in Michigan, which raises money in a county to help others in the county. This 'neighbors helping neighbors' approach is fundamental to our success."
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information about the High Tea or to volunteer or make a donation, visit www.antrimcountyhightea.org.