“Life experiences drive your passions,” says Kim Sport, the Algiers resident and longtime supporter of multiple civic, charitable and educational causes.
“I’ve been lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to give back,” she says. “I’ve got the time, the connections and the dedication to make a difference.”
Sport says her husband, Mike Sport, a successful businessman she married in 1983, was her role model for civic involvement. Among other things, he has been a board member of the United Way of Greater New Orleans, the Dock Board and the Louisiana SPCA, chaired the Chamber of Commerce of New Orleans and the River Region and founded the Jefferson Business Council.
Sport spent the first five years of their marriage going to school, finishing in health sciences at Our Lady of Holy Cross College, and then going straight through Tulane University. She chose Holy Cross, she says, because it let her start her studies as a junior by giving her credit for earlier training at Charity Hospital’s school of radiologic and nuclear medicine.
Those experiences whetted Sport’s interest in providing educational opportunity for others, first through Jefferson Dollars for Scholars and later the Chamber of Commerce education committee.
The Sports are both cancer survivors. Between them they have successfully fought the disease four times. Sport’s husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003. Sport was twice diagnosed with breast cancer, leading to breast removal and reconstructive surgery in 2008. She underwent radiation treatment for thyroid cancer in 2010.
Sport was shocked to learn that seven out of 10 American women facing breast removal because of cancer are not told that reconstructive surgery is an option or that their insurance will pay for the operations.
Women who didn’t get that information “suffered in silence with lifelong disfigurement that could have been thoroughly avoided, if they so chose, at the time they were diagnosed with breast cancer,” she says.
A Louisiana law requiring doctors to disclose that information “fell off the earth” after it was passed in 1998, Sport says. Since learning about the law in 2010, Sport says she has been successful in encouraging state health and physician oversight officials to enforce it.
There is currently no program available to underwrite breast reconstruction surgery for uninsured women, according to Sport. Sport has founded Breastoration, a philanthropic partnership, to help them, and she’s the local chairman of BRA Day USA, a national breast cancer reconstruction awareness campaign. It will be launched form New Orleans on Oct. 17 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Mentor: Marianite Sisters for leadership – way ahead of their time. Mike Sport for philanthropy and integrity. Retired Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero Jr. for strong work ethic. Fr. Thomas Chambers for spirituality and decency. Lucien Gunter for volunteerism and community service.
Defining Moment: Law school graduation for confidence; grandchildren for unconditional love; and cancer (2001, 2008, 2009) for cherishing life.
Advice for Young Women: Be passionate about everything important to you. Learn to say “no.” Do not expect everyone to like you or agree with you. When in doubt, just do the right thing.
Goals: Short-term: Launching BRA Day USA in New Orleans on Oct. 17 to create awareness of the availability of and insurance coverage for post-mastectomy reconstruction surgery for breast cancer patients. Long-term: To never simply “exist” and to always make a difference.
Favorite Things About What I Do: Community service has allowed me to meet people outside of my chosen career path and has provided exposure to diverse ideas and opinions on important issues.