Get To Know Dr. Weintritt of The National Breast Center Foundation

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On any given day in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, you may see Dr. David Weintritt walking home from his office or out with his family.  Or you may see him on the sidelines cheering on his three kids at their sporting events or on a family bike ride along the Potomac.  On workdays you can catch him walking the short distance from his home to his office, the National Breast Center, or at a number of area hospitals and centers where he performs surgery. Dr. Weintritt lives and works in Alexandria and does his best to support and give back the community around him. 

When he’s not in Alexandria, Weintritt may be traveling to share his skills, talents and knowledge throughout other parts of the world.  Last summer, he traveled to India and taught and performed surgical techniques and lectured in three major cities including the main teaching hospital in Delhi.  He lectures about new procedures and developments in the treatment of breast cancer, including ones for which he is the lead doctor in clinical trials, in places like Amsterdam, Miami, and Las Vegas.  He was invited to participate in a global health summit at the United Nations in NYC in 2017.  He recently hosted a webinar for physicians from 40 countries around the world.  Despite his impressive credentials, thriving practice, and packed schedule, Dr. Weintritt’s first priority, after his family and faith, is to his patients.  But not just the patients that he sees through his regular practice, patients that he strives to help care for though his foundation who may not otherwise have access to any care or treatment for breast cancer and other issues.  He also makes a point of carving out time for speaking to local groups, businesses, community health centers and other medical practitioners, and being available for events put on by his foundation or other supporting or partner organizations.

In 2014, Dr. Weintritt started the National Breast Center Foundation.  When he realized that his region had the highest incidence and mortality from breast cancer in the nation, and that women in the Washington, DC area also have one of the highest rates of late stage breast cancer, he felt moved to do something to address this crisis.  Weintritt believed that education, access and technology were the answers, and made those three tenets the main mission of his foundation.  Since its inception, the foundation has grown rapidly and helped hundreds of women, including many without insurance or the financial means to pay, have access to the best possible care. 

One of the things Dr. Weintritt focused on with the creation of the foundation was bringing a breast cancer walk back to Alexandria.  There had been one years ago, but for various reasons it had ceased to exist.  Weintritt knew that it was an important event for not only his patients, but survivors and their loved ones throughout our area — survivors felt strongly about having an opportunity to celebrate their survivorship and endurance of all they went through with chemo, radiation, surgery and more.  Those currently diagnosed and fighting the disease were grateful for an event where they felt the love and support of friends, family, community and those who battled before them.  And for those who passed away from breast cancer, their voices continue to be heard and their supporters can participate in an effort to not have others share the same fate.

In 2016, the National Breast Center Foundation held its first Walk to Bust Cancer at Fort Hunt Park.  Several hundred people came out for a powerful day that featured something for all ages—a DJ, a mindfulness meditation, speakers, exercise warm-ups and yoga cool downs, moon bounce for kids, etc.  Since then, the walk has grown to hosting over 700 people and raising over $100,000 for the battle against breast cancer.  This year’s Walk to Bust Cancer, like so many other events, will be virtual and feature smaller, satellite walks in various neighborhoods and communities.  NBCF is also working with the Scout Guide and other local businesses to involve them and provide recognition and support for the entities that are struggling due to COVID-19.  

Other main fundraising events for the foundation include participating in ACT for Alexandria’s Spring to ACTion 24-hour online giving campaign, the Swing to Bust Cancer Golf Tournament, and the annual Walk to Bust Cancer in October.  This year, thanks to help from some Alexandria Scout Guide members, NBCF will host the first annual Swing to Bust Cancer Tennis Tournament along with the golf tournament on August 31st.  Like so many others, NBCF is seeking out safe and creative ways to connect and raise funds during these difficult times brought on by COVID-19.  During the initial peak of facility closure from COVID-19, routine mammograms were stopped, and for each month, that meant 30,000 women in the US with a delayed or missed breast cancer diagnosis.  Weintritt’s foundation has emphasized that cancer does not stop waging its vicious battle for any reason, and we must continue to help a rapidly growing list of women and men who are losing their jobs and insurance coverage because of the pandemic. 

While the foundation has no geographic boundaries and is open to helping all who qualify, it has formed a strong partnership with Nueva Vida, a non-profit in Alexandria which helps the Latino community with cancer.  Astrid Jimenez, Executive Director of Nueva Vida, presented Dr. Weintritt with the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation Health Care Service Award at last year’s Walk to Bust Cancer.  “Dr. Weintritt has been a Godsend to our organization.  He treats each patient with the same amount of caring, compassion and kindness, regardless of their background or ability to pay.”  The foundation also works closely with other organizations, such as We Will Survive Cancer, with whom they partner to provide Christmas gifts for children of cancer patients, and the Tigerlily foundation, of which Dr. Weintritt is a member of the Medical Advisory Board.  NBCF Executive Director Martha Carucci was also recently named to the Executive Committee of Tigerlily’s Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance, striving to end the disparities among minorities with metastatic breast cancer. 

Among Dr. Weintritt’s remarkable qualities is his humility.  Often when asked about his foundation or to share some of the success stories, he gets a little emotional or choked up and defers to others, like Carucci or board members, to share them.  He humbly says that they do the hard work of going out in the community and spreading the word, doing the footwork and finding the women who need our help and that his part is easy.  If you consider saving lives easy.  Perhaps the most touching success story is that of patient Aleseia Saunders, who was diagnosed at the age of 33 with breast cancer.  Saunders, an African-American with no family history of breast cancer and otherwise healthy, was diagnosed just two weeks after learning that she was pregnant with her first child.  She was told by her oncologist that she would have to terminate the pregnancy to undergo treatment for her cancer that included radiation.  A woman of faith, Saunders prayed on this and was fortunate to learn about Dr. Weintritt and his foundation.  Weintritt had just come from a conference where he learned about a type of genomic testing called Mammaprint, which analyzes the DNA of a patient’s cancer, and in Saunders’ case, showed that her cancer had a very low risk of spread, allowing carefully timed treatment of her cancer without having to terminate the pregnancy.  Aleseia had a beautiful baby girl, who immediately started kicking and cooing in her baby carrier on the first follow-up appointment with Weintritt because she recognized his voice.  Today, Aleseia Saunders is not only a breast cancer survivor, she is a thriver with three beautiful children and is eternally grateful to Weintritt.  Aleseia is an active spokesperson for the foundation and works hard to help other women as they battle breast cancer. 

Weintritt often fits foundation patients in on his already limited lunch break, after his long days of clinic or surgery, or adds Saturday office hours to accommodate them.  One Nueva Vida patient was added to the schedule immediately because she was in a great deal of pain and feared that she had breast cancer.  Weintritt was able to diagnose her with an infection and treat her with antibiotics and when she returned, in tears of joy and feeling so much better, her 9-year old daughter pulled out a crumpled dollar bill from her pocket and wanted to give it to Weintritt as thanks for treating her mother. “It’s hard to see how much some people struggle and how much gratitude they can still have.  I’ve been so grateful for the people that have been brought into my life. I try to share with my children the importance of giving back and helping others” he says.  

“The National Breast Center Foundation was so honored to be selected as this year’s featured non-profit by the Alexandria Scout Guide.  We are so grateful for the recognition of our efforts and the willingness of the Scout Guide to help us carry out our mission” Weintritt shared.