Early Detection Saves Lives.
Getting to Early – because your life matters
Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc. is the government relations affiliate of Are You Dense, Inc.
Founded by Dr. Nancy Cappello to ensure that breast health patient advocacy efforts are front and center in a legislative advocacy organization with oversight by an advocacy Board of Directors.
Nancy M. Cappello, Ph.D
To ensure that women with dense breast tissue have access to an early breast cancer diagnosis. To that end, women need to be informed of their breast density, the limitations of mammography to find cancer in dense breast tissue and the increased risk factor of dense breast tissue.
Board of Directors:
Joseph J. Cappello married Nancy Marcucci, in 1974 and the story began. Joe is the co-founder of Are You Dense, and Are You Dense Advocacy. Joe was elected to take on the leadership role as Executive Director of Are You Dense, Inc and Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc. in January of 2019 after Nancy’s passing from treatment related bone marrow cancer (MDS). His passion is to continue Nancy’s legacy by pursuing the goal that they set in 2004; that not one woman would die from a late stage breast cancer due to dense breast tissue. In 2009, Joe and Nancy championed the first in the nation breast density inform law in the State of Connecticut. To date, there are now 36 States that have breast density legislation. This has given thousands of women in the U.S. and around the world a voice, because early detection matters.
In 2004 Nancy was diagnosed with stage 3c breast cancer. They decided to start Are You Dense, Inc and Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc to alert the world about the high risk of breast cancer for those women with dense breast tissue. To help finance these efforts Joe drew on his musical background to put together what became The Are You Dense MusicFest. It produced finances to Are You Dense, Inc for 10 years and gave great pleasure to thousands of people at the same time.
Joe received his entrepreneurial degree by developing three businesses in his career. He became a real estate broker and started his own business which continued for 30 years, selling homes and industrial / commercial property. He was also an independent rep for many years in the electronics industry, selling to industrial manufactures throughout New England. Joe has been an avid drummer since the age of 10. He played with The Waterbury Symphony Orchestra while still in grammar school and in many bands, writing and recording original music. He still plays in a jazz band on occasion. His interest in music ignited an idea to develop a business which manufactures and distributes a unique portable drum set throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. He also holds a U.S. Patent on the electronics portion of the drum set.
Joe is a licensed private pilot and also enjoys being on his boat with friends and a good cigar.
Ramona Harrison, MBA, MA Ind./Org. Psychology has been working in the field Human Resources and Organization Development for over 25 years. Ramona has focused her career on global high tech/manufacturing companies and now consults as a principal in her own Human Resources business in the high tech/manufacturing sector. Ramona was lucky enough to be introduced to Nancy and Joe Cappello by her parents, who set up tours and traveled throughout Europe with Nancy and Joe. After Nancy discovered she had breast cancer, and was recovering, Nancy focused on bicycling as a way of regaining her strength which was lost due to her difficult chemotherapy treatments. Ramona and Nancy had a common interest in bicycling and soon became fast friends, biking throughout Middlebury and Woodbury. They spent much of their time during long bike rides discussing Nancy’s ideas about how to educate the public and how to create a nonprofit organization so that other women could learn from Nancy’s experience. Ramona became passionate in helping Nancy reach her goal of changing the laws in the U.S. Ramona served as Vice President of Are You Dense in 2008, when the nonprofit was formed. Ramona helped to get the organization started, worked on and developed fund raising events, researched administrative requirements, and facilitated the Are You Dense strategic plan. In 2013 Ramona transitioned to Are You Dense Advocacy and currently serves as President.
Karen Gugliotti has been working in the Banking industry for over 15 years. In 2006 Karen took a break from the Banking industry to be a stay at home mother to her adopted son, David. To date, Karen refers to this moment as one of the most gratifying moments of her life. In 2011 Karen was presented with an opportunity to work with Dr. Nancy Cappello as the first part-time Administrative Coordinator for Are You Dense, Inc. In her role Karen scheduled speaking engagements, researched grants, developed communication methods and media, prepared presentation materials, communicated with industry representatives and government officials, as well as helped to develop special events. Although Karen could not continue to work in a part time role, she continued to be inspired and motivated by Nancy and her mission. In 2013 she was asked to be on the Board of Directors as the Secretary of Are You Dense Advocacy, and she accepted the role with enthusiasm. Nancy’s ability to captivate and command the attention of anyone willing to listen inspired Karen to strive to achieve and become a more active member in helping society. As time went on, Karen’s relationship with Nancy blossomed into a wonderful friendship. Karen has been an active part of both the Are you Dense, Inc. and Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc. organizations. She has a strong belief in the work and the mission of AYD and AYDA and will continue to reflect on a key motto she learned from Nancy: One person truly can make a difference in this world. Karen believes that Nancy’s incredible spirit and awe-inspiring motivation will forever change the lives of many women.
Susan A. Katz received a degree in Language Arts and Journalism from Ohio University. She subsequently worked, for over 30 years, as a teacher/consultant with New York State Poets in Public Service, and then independently, conducting poetry and language arts workshops with students, teachers, and education administrators. She is the author of three textbooks that propose ways and means of integrating the arts into school curriculum and chronicling her experiences in the classroom. She is, as well, the author of three poetry collections and is currently working on a series of children’s stories. Susan is the owner/designer/creator of EarthWhorls, LLC, an online store that sells jewelry that is inspired by nature. Susan met Nancy Cappello through a mutual friend about 10 years ago. After meeting over coffee, a tradition that was carried out many, many times over the years, Nancy asked Susan to become a board member of Are You Dense. Susan was particularly excited to be a part of Nancy’s groundbreaking, breast cancer organization as she had lost her mother and both grandmothers, to breast cancer. Susan has served on the board of Are You Dense and is now, on the Board of Are You Dense Advocacy. Her small part in this life saving mission has been amazingly gratifying and she continues to consider Dr. Nancy Cappello one of the true heroes in the ongoing fight to save women’s lives. She is looking forward to working with Joe Cappello, and fellow board members, who are taking up Nancy’s mantle and carrying on the critical work of Are You Dense.
Goals of Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc.
- Advocate for and support State and Federal legislative and Regulatory efforts to standardize the communication of dense breast tissue to women.
- Advocate for and support State and Federal legislative and Regulatory efforts for access to reliable breast screening technologies for women with dense breast tissue.
- Ensure that the communication of a patient's breast tissue composition is provided across the globe for access to realiable breast screening tools to reduce mortality from the most common cancer in women both in the developed and less developed world.
Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc. is a 501(c)(4) tax–exempt organization.
April, 2004 - Chemotherapy - A 'Normal' mammogram four months prior