By Holly Anderson, Executive Director
In 1997, our Coalition foremothers envisioned a full-scope nonprofit organization that would stand on four pillars: Advocacy, Research, Education and Support. While each pillar shares equal importance, spring is the time when we actively work toward an objective that is central to our mission: to advance research in our region with the goal of ending breast cancer. And it’s spring!
Our Research Initiative, which is unusual for a nonprofit grassroots organization, is an integral part of our continuing efforts to eradicate this disease. Since 2003, we have provided seed grants to researchers right here in our own region whose work has the potential to yield significant medical breakthroughs in the cause and prevention of breast cancer, halting progression of metastasis and, ultimately, cure of the disease. In fact, several Coalition-funded projects have gone on to receive funding at the national level.
Why is our Breast Cancer Research Initiative so important to us? First and foremost, we grew tired of seeing millions of dollars raised in our region for “breast cancer research” – dollars that literally left our region. Where did they go? How much was returned to scientists where these funds were raised? Why did the funds leave at all? We had no idea. And this made no sense to us. Though these funds were raised by us and our friends, family, coworkers, and others living in our very own community, there was no way of knowing how much, if anything, was returned to support breast cancer research right here where we live, work, and receive our medical care. We longed for transparency.
And why were we so focused on the endpoints of breast cancer? Those endpoints are, specifically, cause and cure. What do these mean? Plain and simple, we didn’t want our children, siblings, parents, friends, and others to experience a breast cancer diagnosis at all. And if they did, we certainly didn’t want them to die of it. We stood by as plenty of research dollars were directed toward screening, early detection, and primary treatment of the disease. Yes, these are important. But little funding was directed toward understanding what causes breast cancer in the first place and even less was directed toward metastatic disease. We were determined to change this. Today, the majority of Coalition research dollars have been directed to halting progression of metastatic disease, achieving regression, and ending breast cancer altogether. Read about the projects we have funded at bccr.org/research.
Our Research Advisory Board, comprised of breast cancer survivor-advocates and scientists, does the intricate, complex work of determining which projects will receive funding. Together they will complete a comprehensive review of proposals in April with a funding decision made in May. A public announcement will be forthcoming in early summer. Amazing research is happening right here in our region and we are proud to have played a part in it.
In the summer of 2022, the total amount awarded to regional researchers will exceed $1,000,000, a huge milestone worth celebrating!
And we won’t rest until the day when breast cancer is no longer a threat to those we love. Our Breast Cancer Research Initiative is YOUR Breast Cancer Research Initiative. Thank you for all you do to support our efforts!