Help Find a Cure for Breast Cancer

by Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Foundation
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Help Find a Cure for Breast Cancer
Help Find a Cure for Breast Cancer
Help Find a Cure for Breast Cancer
Help Find a Cure for Breast Cancer
Help Find a Cure for Breast Cancer
Help Find a Cure for Breast Cancer
Help Find a Cure for Breast Cancer
Dr. Horiuchi
Dr. Horiuchi

Dear Friends, 

The Lynn Sage Foundation enjoyed a wonderful year thanks to the generous and thoughtful support of so many. Thank you! We're thrilled to share that the Lynn Sage Scholars, past and present, also had an outstanding year:

We are most excited to report that current Lynn Sage Scholar, Dr. Dai Horiuchi recently was awarded funding from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. This is a tremendously competitive mechanism with a funding rate of only 5-6%.  Most compelling is that Dr. Horiuchi’s proposal is a collaboration of current and former Lynn Sage Scholars, including Drs. Marc Mendillo and Athan Vassilopoulos as formal collaborators.  Their emerging cooperation is aimed at bringing new targeted therapeutic strategies, for patients with Triple Negative Breast Cancer, to early-stage clinical testing as soon as possible. Dr. Horiuchi credits The Lynn Sage Foundation with bringing them together and helping them pursue a collaborative spirit.

There are many other Scholar highlights to note as well: 

Dr. Marc Mendillo was also awarded funding from Susan G. Komen Memorial to study a molecule called HSF1, which allows cancer cells to survive under stress.  His work seeks to understand how HSF1 is "turned on" in cancer and how it affects breast cancer cell responses to anti-cancer drugs.

Dr. Abde Abukhdeir recently received Internal Review Board approval for his project  “Determination of Estrogen Receptor Status in Women Diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer Using Cell-Free Tumor DNA."  The project includes a clinical trial collecting blood samples from women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. The goal of this project is to determine if this blood test is an effective way to survey all of the cancer in a breast cancer patient at once. 

Dr. Athan Vassilopoulos was published in Aging Cell for research he pursued as the most recent Lynn Sage Scholar, “Sirtuins at the crossroads of stemness, aging, and cancer.”  Dr. Vassilopoulos is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

Dr. Virginia Kaklamani was published in Cancer for research she pursued as a Lynn Sage Scholar, “A prospective evaluation of clinical and genetic predictors of weight changes in breast cancer survivors.”  Dr. Kaklamani is currently the Ruth McLean Bowman Bowers Chair in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, A.B. Alexander Distinguished Chair in Oncology, and Leader of the Breast Oncology Program at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. 

During this season of giving, we hope you will consider supporting The Lynn Sage Foundation and the innovative research of the Lynn Sage Scholars.  

Warm Regards, 

Laura & Halee Sage

Dr. Mendillo
Dr. Mendillo
Dr. Abukhdeir
Dr. Abukhdeir
2017 Lynn Sage Scholars
2017 Lynn Sage Scholars

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Leesa during treatment
Leesa during treatment

Leesa Drake’s physical accomplishments are awe-inspiring. This past spring, she was planning for her 99th and 100th marathons.  In addition to her own races, she planned to train The Lynn Sage Foundation running team. She joined Team Lynn Sage during the 2016 Chicago Half Marathon and, this year, led our inaugural Bank of America Chicago Marathon eleven-person team.  Leesa’s commitment to physical fitness is impressive, but she is proving an unstoppable force against her current challenge.

“I was happy to get involved with The Lynn Sage Foundation last year. One in eight women getting a breast cancer diagnosis is sobering. I know women. I knew women. That’s a lot of people. You’d be dodging a super big bullet to never have to deal with breast cancer, but even still, I wasn’t suspecting it would be me.”

This past spring, Team Lynn Sage members received an unexpected email right as their training season started. Leesa shared her recent breast cancer diagnosis, course of treatment, and her commitment to stay involved with the team.

“I’m none of the risk factors. I did everything right. The initial diagnosis was Stage 1 breast cancer, requiring surgery, but no chemo or radiation. After surgery, that was changed to Stage 3, adding both chemo and radiation to the plan.” 

While undergoing treatment, Leesa continued to train.  She planned to run in Chicago. 

“I know I'm pretty stubborn, so I’ll do what I can to be ready and talk with my doctors about the risks. So far, they have been really supportive. After the race, I'll still have two more chemo sessions, followed by five weeks of radiation.”

While Leesa adjusted her time commitment with Team Lynn Sage to focus on treatment, she has remained its biggest cheerleader. However, her diagnosis also meant reevaluating significant personal goals. Leesa’s plan to run her 99th marathon in Chicago, followed a week later by her 100th in Connecticut, seemed ambitious given her treatment schedule. Leesa decided to postpone her 100th until she can run it completely healthy and in an amazing location as a celebration.

Her doctors remained supportive.  True to her determined and positive attitude, with many friends and family along the course, Leesa completed her 99th marathon with Team Lynn Sage on Sunday, October 7th!

“I’ve learned a lot along the way. A friend from running gave me a life lesson that applies in both a race and while undergoing treatment: ‘There are highs and lows and neither one will last. Manage the ups and downs, but don’t overreact to either.’" 

Every day, Leesa proves this to be true. Sharing detailed updates about her journey on Facebook, she inspires hundreds of people, including The Lynn Sage Foundation community.

“There have been some really hard days. I try to focus on the next thing, not all the things. I’m a planner — I like calendars and planning — so that mindset challenges me to keep my head in check.”

Mentorship from friends who are also breast cancer survivors is invaluable to Leesa. 

“I’m grateful I have friends who’ve had this challenge ahead of me and give great advice. Now I use my story in my Lynn Sage Foundation fundraising because it's just more personal. The Lynn Sage Scholars are doing really important work so that the 1 in 8 don’t have to worry so much. I have advantages now in my treatment compared to friends who went through this even just a few years ago.”

Thanks to Leesa's inspiration, Team Lynn Sage raised over $48,000 to support The Lynn Sage Scholars Program!  If you’re interested in joining our charity team for the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, we'd love to have you.  Please contact The Lynn Sage Foundation at info@lynnsagefoundation.org.

Leesa and team member Dani
Leesa and team member Dani
Leesa with friends on course
Leesa with friends on course

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The Lynn Sage Foundation Board
The Lynn Sage Foundation Board

Dear Friends,

During these dog days of summer, we hope you are enjoying plenty of sunshine and relaxing with family and friends. 

The Lynn Sage Foundation kicked off summer with our Associate Board’s Fifth Annual Summer Toast on June 8th.  This year’s event was particularly special.  Our amazing host, Proxi, opened their beautiful restaurant to us pre-launch.  And, we introduced all three 2017 Lynn Sage Scholars to our supporters.  Drs. Abukhdeir, Horiuchi and Mendillo were able to share insights on their individual research projects.  They also shared the difficulty young researchers face finding funding to pursue truly ground-breaking research.  The night was hugely successful.  Almost 200 young, professionals helped us raise over $28,500 for innovative breast cancer research!  And, the Scholars discovered ways they can collaborate across institutions to further their research.   We are SO grateful!

Summer in Chicago also includes marathon training.  Team Lynn Sage is extraordinarily proud to have eleven inspiring athletes competing in the 40th Anniversary Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 8th.  Their commitment to training and fundraising keeps us motivated!  If you are in Chicago that day, please help us cheer on Team Lynn Sage!

Team Lynn Sage isn’t simply for endurance athletes.  The Lynn Sage Foundation recognizes the many benefits fitness brings to our physical, mental and emotional well-being, and the varying goals of all our friends.  If you have ever considered training for a half-marathon or even 5k, please join us at the Chicago Half-marathon & 5k on September 24th.  There are still a few slots on Team Lynn Sage.   Email info@lynnsagefoundation.org for more information.

As we look ahead to fall, we hope you will save-the-date for our biggest party of the year, LuxeHome Chill at the Merchandise Mart on Thursday, November 9th.  With over 50 fantastic, local chefs and 150 wineries participating, this event never disappoints!

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to discovering a cure for breast cancer!

Warm regards,

Laura & Halee

Lynn Sage Scholars
Lynn Sage Scholars
Summer Toast 2017
Summer Toast 2017
Summer Toast at Proxi
Summer Toast at Proxi
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Anne's wedding
Anne's wedding

Anne has lived with breast cancer since she was ten years old. 

That’s how old she was when her mother found a lump. Only 38 years old at the time, Mariela was a busy woman with two kids in the middle of planning a move. Like far too many women, she didn’t prioritize getting to the doctor quickly.  The breast cancer had spread to her lymph nodes by the time she received a diagnosis.

The aggressive treatment that Mariela received saved her life. It also made an indelible impression on Anne.  Even at a young age, she understood the toll the chemotherapy and radiation took on her mother.  Ultimately, that personal experience fueled her involvement with The Lynn Sage Foundation Board of Directors.

Mariela beat her breast cancer in 1993 and eventually moved to southern California, living a healthy and full life. It was twenty years later that she received news far too many survivors hear. The breast cancer that infected her lymph nodes all those years ago had now metastasized to her bones.  Unfortunately, few statistics are collected for metastatic breast cancer, but estimates suggest that 20-30% of patients will experience late recurrence.

Today, Anne travels from Chicago to Los Angeles every other week. She visits her parents, attends doctor’s appointments, and helps care for her mother.  She is astounded by the evolution of cancer treatment she observes.

“I remember how aggressive the chemotherapy was before. Science has evolved so much since then.  My mom has had a very stable, normal life these past four years, all while living with cancer again.  This time, her treatment could be targeted to specific cells and, at least in the beginning, was less aggressive.  She was even able to open a pilates studio while undergoing treatment.  Her attitude, her medical team and the treatment have all just been remarkable!”

The targeted treatment Mariela receives now resulted from years of diligent and extensive research. Witnessing the difference research advances like these make in her own mother’s life, Anne is convinced that science is the key to either cure or prevent this terrible disease.

“I’ve met the Lynn Sage Scholars and toured their labs.  It’s so fascinating how they can identify the different cells and specifically target them.  I’ve seen how far we’ve come and can only imagine what the next 10-20 years will bring!  At the end of the day, breast cancer research is the only thing that will make a difference.”

The research that led to Mariela's targeted treatment is driving novel research being conducted by one of the current Lynn Sage Scholars. Dr. Marc Mendillo is investigating a new approach to the progression of tumors, metastasis and targeted therapeutics.

As passionate as she is about finding a cure, Anne is equally passionate about women being proactive about their health.  She can’t help but wonder what would have happened if her mother’s original breast cancer had been diagnosed earlier.

“If my mom had gotten her cyst removed on time, perhaps we wouldn’t be here.  If you notice anything abnormal, get it screened and tested!  Women get nervous about going to the doctor, but that’s the wrong attitude.  It’s a win/win situation. If it’s nothing, you’re good.  If it’s something, it will be handled ASAP.”

Anne has hardly known a life without breast cancer. But, she knows better than most the impact research makes on the quality of life for patients like her mother.  This Mother’s Day, celebrate all mothers who live with strength and grace in the face of breast cancer.  Support The Lynn Sage Foundation and research that allows them to do just that.   

We are excited to host our Fifth Annual Summer Toast at Proxi, a beautiful new restaurant in Chicago, on Thursday, June 8th.  We would love to see you there!  Please visit lynnsagefoundation.org for more information.  

Warm Regards, 

Laura & Halee 

Anne & Mariela
Anne & Mariela

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Thanks to the incredible generosity of The Lynn Sage Foundation community, we are thrilled to announce Dr. Dai Horiuchi as our THIRD Lynn Sage Scholar in 2017!

Dr. Horiuchi is an Associate Professor of Pharmacology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and a member of the Translational Research in Solid Tumors Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.  The goal of his ongoing basic and translational breast cancer research is to identify and validate novel therapeutic strategies for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is the breast cancer subtype with the poorest clinical outcome. Triple-negative tumors present serious challenges due to limited insights into the mechanisms of tumor generation and progression, as well as a lack of validated therapeutic targets. 

The past two decades of breast cancer research have given rise to some molecularly targeted therapies and gene expression-based diagnostic tools. These clinical tools have helped to slow disease progression in some forms of breast cancer and have helped doctors predict who has a higher likelihood of responding to a given therapy, thus paving the way to the era of personalized medicine. However, doctors still face a significant number of breast cancer patients who either do not respond well to any existing therapies or eventually experience a recurrence of tumors that have become resistant to therapies which were previously effective. These cases account for the actual breast cancer-related mortality rate, which has not substantially improved over the past decade.  This is particularly the case for patients with TNBC.

Dr. Horiuchi’s laboratory is poised to better understand the biology of these tumors and to validate novel therapeutic concepts, setting the foundation for early stage human clinical trials.  In collaboration with clinicians at Northwestern Medicine and with pharmaceutical partners, Dr. Horiuchi is dedicated to bringing his laboratory findings to clinical testing.  His overarching goal is to significantly reduce TNBC-related mortality for the estimated 35% of patients in need of life-saving treatment.

Because of your wonderful generosity, The Lynn Sage Foundation is proud to include Drs. Dai Horiuchi, Marc Mendillo, and Abde Abukhdeir in the Lynn Sage Scholars program for 2017.   Please consider continuing your support.  Together, we will change the trajectory of breast cancer. 

With deepest gratitude,

Laura & Halee

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Organization Information

Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Foundation

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @lynnsage
Project Leader:
Gret Luhrs
Chicago, IL United States
$111,414 raised of $1,000,000 goal
 
1,588 donations
$888,586 to go
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