Meet Our Trio of New KTB Consumer Advocates

Connie Rufenbarger

For 14 years after she co-founded the Komen Tissue Bank, Connie Rufenbarger gave her all to the KTB as its Consumer Advocate. Connie was an advocate for the KTB like no other could be; she was everywhere doing everything she could do for us at all times. Connie has now decided to “retire” from the KTB (although we know in reality she is always with us) and is passing her torch on to a trio of women who may be new to you, but they are no strangers to the KTB.

We are thrilled to introduce you to our new Consumer Advocacy Team. It is our dearest wish that it won’t be much longer before we can host our next tissue collection event, and you can meet them in person.

Latrice Baxter

Latrice Baxter says: Hi everyone! I am privileged to share the role of Consumer Advocate! In 1998, my mom's best friend died from complications of breast cancer. Ten years later, I participated in the Komen Race for the Cure Walk. Seeing a sea of pink shirts and realizing it was 10 years since my mom's best friend died probably triggered my desire to do more than wear a pink pin in October.

I learned about the KTB when someone made a presentation at my church about the importance of donating healthy breast tissue for research for a cure for breast cancer. This was my chance to help and it was one of the most meaningful and emotional things I've done so far in my 43 years. I was amazed at the camaraderie and the energy at the site! I left in tears, happy tears at the small impact I had for women who look like me, my goddaughter, my children's daughters, my cousin in law and her daughters...all from one little donation.

A few years later, I had the opportunity to volunteer with KTB directly on the Super Saver project and at a KTB donor event which led to involvement with the Minority Recruitment Team. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a brief presentation would have led me here and I could not be more excited, invigorated, and ready to serve.

I've lived in Indiana since 2006 after I graduated from grad school. The two-year stint I thought I would make in the Midwest has parlayed into a career change, purchasing a home, and starting a private practice. I am a proud native of Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection! Most of my family is in Philly but I visit when I'm able especially during the holidays.

I am a mental health therapist and recently started a private practice which has been challenging but a great adventure. I've worked in mental health since 2013 and worked in Human Resources for about 12 years prior to my career change. 

My happy places are exercising, cooking, and watching anime (don't judge me, it's great!), HGTV, and the Food Network. At this point in my life, joy comes from serving and learning to enjoy myself, my life and this path God has meticulously and masterfully laid out for me. I look forward to learning and growing in this role with my fellow Advocates Gena and Nicole! 

Gena Asher

Gena Asher says: I have volunteered at KTB events for more than 10 years in Indianapolis, Bloomington and Louisville.

When diagnosed with breast cancer, I created a website, Breast Cancer: FYI, as a response to a lack of local information about services and resources in south central Indiana. The award-winning site closed in 2016 after 15 years.

I am also a co-founder of Step Ahead, a support group for survivors, who often have different concerns and needs from the newly diagnosed. It continues to meet monthly in Bloomington.

In my “non-breast cancer life,” I was a newspaper reporter, journalism instructor and digital content manager at the Indiana University Media School, where I enjoyed working with college students. I am active in several nonprofit organizations and enjoy playing pickleball when the weather is fine.

 Nicole Biberstine

Nicole Biberstine says: I’m thrilled to join the Komen Tissue Bank as a Consumer Advocate. My relationship with the KTB goes back to 2010 when I donated my healthy breast tissue during one of the first few years of the tissue collection.

As the former Director of Foundation for the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation, I helped coordinate volunteers nationally for the Survivor Recognition Program at the Komen Race for the Cure series. 

In October 2017, after finding a lump in my breast while doing a self-breast exam, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m currently NED (no evidence of disease) and under the care of Dr. Bryan Schneider at the IU Simon Cancer Center.

Throughout my diagnosis, I felt that the only way I had control was when I could understand the science behind my diagnosis and the treatment I was receiving.  Advancements in breast cancer research are what have kept me positive throughout my treatment. Serving as a Consumer Advocate for the Komen Tissue Bank is a great way for me to balance my role as a stay at home mom while staying connected to a cause I hold dear.

I live in Indianapolis with my husband Mike and our two children Grace (7) and Grant (3). When not in quarantine or administering e-learning, I enjoy volunteering for my daughter’s school and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.