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Donations, Education, and People-Power Mark MassMutual Breast Cancer Awareness Month Efforts

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- With a combination of charitable contributions, innovative education and personal involvement that has become its hallmark, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its agents nationwide are once again rallying to the cause of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The company and its agents are expected to contribute tens of thousands of dollars to cancer research, prevention and treatment organizations throughout the country as part of its Breast Cancer Awareness Month education seminar campaign. For each MassMutual agency that conducts a Pearls of Wisdom(R) financial education seminar in their local communities in October, MassMutual will contribute up to $5,000 to local cancer organizations. Last year's effort raised more than $80,000 for organizations in 25 states while educating more than 1,500 women.

Additionally, recognizing that many women are underinsured, MassMutual is making available two educational brochures to help raise awareness and begin important conversations:

-- a new Family Risk Discussion Guide to help families discuss the sensitive issue of life insurance, available at

-- and an important brochure that dispels the mistaken belief of many women that a history of breast cancer will prevent them from obtaining insurance coverage. In fact, it is now easier for breast cancer survivors to qualify for MassMutual life insurance coverage -- and many will pay less for it -- because MassMutual regularly reviews its life underwriting guidelines to keep pace with favorable diagnostic and treatment developments.

The company's charitable and educational efforts are fueled by the power of its people, for whom the efforts to raise awareness of the disease hit close to home.

For example, Teresa DeVries, of the First Financial Group in New Castle, PA, a MassMutual general agency, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. She not only defeated the disease but also went on to receive both the New Associate of the Year Award from her agency as well as the Advocate for Women in Business Award from the Women's Referral Network -- all while battling her cancer. Determined to increase awareness of both breast cancer and financial preparedness, DeVries conducted Pearls of Wisdom financial seminars at the Chester County Hospital where she was being treated.

"That's what I try to communicate to other women -- you can beat this disease. And spreading awareness is a great step towards increasing survival rates," she said. "So get tested, and get prepared financially, because you need to protect yourself and your family."

Annette Olday, CRPC, of MassMutual's Buffalo Agency, presents Pearls of Wisdom seminars in honor of her mother-in-law, an 18-year survivor of breast cancer. At each of her seminars, Olday urges women to review their financial contingency plans because they're not always what they think.

"Often, women tell me that they think they have disability income insurance or life insurance through their employer, or that their husband has arranged for coverage. But after attending our seminar, they double-check and find out that they don't have as much coverage as they thought or perhaps none at all," said Olday. "It's very rewarding to know we are helping women make better plans that will enable them to weather potentially devastating illnesses such as breast cancer."

Mary Brimer and Barbara Boylan, of Legacy Financial Group, LLC, a MassMutual general agency, give their Pearls of Wisdom donations to the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation to increase awareness. Their donations are just one of the ways in which they support the foundation and work to raise awareness, particularly in their home state of Rhode Island.

"Better education and more awareness can result in earlier detection, and earlier detection means that more women will survive this disease," said Brimer. "We feel extremely fortunate that we're able to spread the word, and that our agency and MassMutual are so generous in their support of our efforts and this cause."

For more information, visit . To find a Pearls of Wisdom financial education seminar near you logon to and search for a financial professional near you.

About MassMutual's Women's Markets

MassMutual's Women's Markets is a recognized leader in its efforts to improve the understanding of women's diverse financial needs so that they may take positive steps toward preparing for their financial future and protecting the people and/or assets most important to them. Through its Pearls of Wisdom(R) seminar, MassMutual educates women on financial issues, and through sponsorship of a variety of research and educational projects and events for and about women, such as the Danskin Triathlon Series and an innovative Breast Cancer Awareness Month program, MassMutual makes charitable contributions to cancer organizations both nationally and locally in the name of its agencies across the country.

About MassMutual

MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual and its subsidiaries had more than $500 billion in assets under management at year-end 2007. Assets under management include assets and certain external investment funds managed by MassMutual's subsidiaries.

Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a mutually owned financial protection, accumulation and income management company headquartered in Springfield, Mass. MassMutual's major affiliates include: OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; MML Investors Services, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC ( and; MassMutual International LLC and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.

SOURCE MassMutual
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