The largest private gift to the Hutch for breast-cancer research and care arrived courtesy of 6,000 soles Sunday afternoon.
Braving three days of sweltering temperatures in the 80s and walking a total of 60 miles, some 3,000 participants in the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk ended their journey at Seattle's Memorial Stadium, where they and a cadre of Hutch volunteers first heard news of the $2.5 million gift from the Avon Products Foundation.
The walkers, who began their trek in Enumclaw and included a 12-member Hutch team, had just raised a total of $4.6 million for breast-cancer research, joining walkers ths year in eight other cities participating in similar fund-raising events sponsored by Avon, whose slogan is "Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye."
Among those present for the announcement was Dr. Peggy Porter, head of the Hutch's Breast Cancer Program. She marveled at the implications of the donation.
'A real difference'
"It is a generous gift," Porter said. "It's big enough to allow us to go in new reseach directions and attract new scientists into the breast cancer field. Our focus will be to translate what we know from the laboratory to what's happening in the clinic. This gift will make a real difference to the breast cancer program, and we want it to make a real difference to women with breast cancer."
The gift establishes the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade Opportunity Fund, the first of its kind at the Hutch. The fund carries two purposes:
Porter, of the Hutch's Human Biology and Public Health Sciences divisions and a faculty member in the Department of Pathology at UWMC, will serve as principal investigator for the gift.
Co-investigator will be Dr. Julie Gralow, associate professor at UWMC, breast-oncology specialist at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and director of the UWMC women's Cancer Genetics and Risk Reduction Clinic.
At Harborview, Dr. Joann Elmore, head of general internal medicine, will lead the clinical care and research initiatives, along with Dr. Hannah Linden, oncologist in the breast clinic.
Porter noted that the Avon gift will bring basic and applied scientists from many institutions together to translate basic research discoveries into the clinic and boost the potential for meaningful advances in breast-cancer prevention and survival.
Details of the scope of work funded by the gift fall into these categories:
Avon launched in 1993 what it has called a crusade to fund medical research into prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of breast cancer, particularly for underserved women. The cosmetics firm has raised funds through "pink ribbon" fund-raising products and, since 1998, three-day, 60-mile walks.
The Hutch is part of a network of 17 Avon-funded institutions and organizations and more than 500 community-based breast-health programs in 46 states and Washington, D.C.
Worldwide, Avon has supported programs for breast cancer and other women's health issues in 30 countries since 1992.
Clinicians and researchers at Harborview Medical Center and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance will set up a breast-care program for women who are medically underserved, as part of the Avon gift.
As one of 100 national "safety net" hospitals, Harborview already delivers comprehensive primary and specialty medical services to county residents, as well as serving as a four-state trauma and burn center.
The Avon funding will allow the new program for underserved women to: