Since 2004, we have been working with American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee on the Women’s Health Empowerment Project to develop and build breast cancer awareness programs in Russia. WHEP is an innovative overseas public education movement that encourages the early detection of breast cancer. The program is currently active in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro and Russia. WHEP is presenting results of its four years of work in Russia and upcoming programs aimed at reducing mortality rates from breast cancer – a disease that kills 25,000 women in Russia each year. Our own Susan Brown and Ana Teasdale will be blogging from the conference itself, but did want to share some local color.
After 13 hours on an airplane from the US to Moscow, a one hour process through customs, another one hour drive to the hotel and a quick nap, we set out to see Moscow! Even though it is mid May, it was gray and windy with the temperature only in the mid 40s. This did not stop us from meeting with our program partners from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC): Itai Shamir (from JDC/NY), Katya Bashta (from JDC/Russia) and Nela Hasic (from JDC/Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Decked out in our Komen team shirts, we took in the impressive “must-see” sites of Moscow. We saw the Novodevichy Convent, Stalin’s Seven Sisters and the statue of Peter the Great. Passing the Kremlin, we ended at Red Square, also the site of Lenin’s Mausoleum and St. Basil’s Cathedral. Some say that that the name Red Square comes from the color of the bricks surrounding it, others say that it of political nature, and still others say that it is from the Russian word meaning beautiful. It was beautiful.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of our friends and a special Happy Mother’s Day to our friends surviving breast cancer today!
There are many traditions around Mother’s Day and one of ours is the annual “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” program with Major League Baseball. Every Mother’s Day, MLB players, coaches and umpires wear pink wristbands and pink ribbon decals and use pink bats on this special day.
And, to recognize and honor those who have faced breast cancer, MLB recognizes 30 “Honorary Bat Girls” for Mother’s Day. The winners are selected from more than 1,500 entries written by themselves, family or friends about a special person facing breast cancer. See the contestants and winners and their stories at www.HonoraryBatGirl.com.
Each Honorary Bat Girl takes part in pre-game activities, is honored during an on-field ceremony, and receives pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game. For Clubs that are away on Mother’s Day, another home game in May will be selected to recognize that team’s Honorary Bat Girl.
In the three years of this program, more than 4,000 testimonials have been submitted and more than six million fan votes have been cast.
Thanks to Major League Baseball for doing its part to end breast cancer, forever, and thanks to all the Moms out there!
There are mixed messages about the health effects of drinking some alcohol. Scientific evidence can help you weigh the risks and benefits, but it’s clear that having more than a few drinks per week appears to increase breast cancer risk. Read more in our latest Komen Perspectives Article.
Telling lawmakers that “This is where the ribbon meets the road,” our Founder and CEO Nancy Brinker kicked off the Komen Advocacy Alliance Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. this morning, with hundreds of our Affiliate and Advocacy Alliance representatives on hand to fight for breast cancer issues.
As in years past, advocates in pink streamed across Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to preserve early detection and treatment programs, especially for vulnerable groups such as the poor and uninsured, and to maintain federal investments in cancer research.
It was a standing-room-only crowd as about 40 congressional members joined advocates for the launch breakfast this morning. Nancy acknowledged the difficulty lawmakers will have in tough budgetary times and pledged partnership saying “We’re not here just with our hands out, but extending our hands in partnership to help save lives.”
She took the opportunity to announce our $58 million in research funding for 2011, going to 80 grants at 56 institutions worldwide. We have more information about our 2011 research grants slate here.
Be sure to check out the pictures from our event this morning in the slideshow below.
We are really excited today to announce $58 million for new research through our 2011 Susan G. Komen for the Cure grants program. Some $55 million will go to 80 research projects and another $3 million will fund patient support programs and conferences.
You can find the full slate here, but we’d like to call out our two big Promise Grants for 2011. Promise Grants are the multi-million dollar, multi-year grants we launched in 2008, designed to get theories out of the lab and to the bedside quickly. With today’s announcement, we now have 16 of these large grants being funded, with 16 clinical trials either underway or on tap for the coming year.
New this year is a $6.5 million Promise Grant to the University of California at San Francisco to look at genetic interventions to the immune system to treat triple negative breast cancer – an aggressive form of the disease more commonly diagnosed in African American women. In St. Louis, a $6.5 million grant to researchers at Washington University could lead to a personalized vaccine to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer.
Imagine that. A personalized vaccine that could keep cancer from coming back. That would be a big breakthrough, and that’s what we’re after – big breakthroughs. We’ve been after them since we began funding research nearly 30 years ago, and with $610 million invested to date, we’re proud to say that we’ve touched every major advance in breast cancer science since then.
The research is getting results: mortality rates have declined by 31% in the U.S. since 1990, 5-year U.S. survival rates are 98% for early stage breast cancers, and there are today more effective treatments for many women with this disease.
But as we all know, there’s a lot left to understand, so we’re going after the really tough questions: how breast cancer forms, how it grows and spreads, how to stop it if it does spread, why some racial or ethnic groups have worse outcomes from the disease, and whether it’s possible to prevent breast cancer entirely.
Your support will help us get to those answers – hopefully very soon. Thanks for all that you do to help save lives.