Make a Difference in Breast Cancer Research

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Today is National Trivia Day, and we are taking this opportunity to share important and impactful facts from the 3-Day and our Susan G. Komen family at large. You can use these facts in your own 3-Day trivia game, as part of your fundraising letters, or as encouragement for you and your team this year. We have come so far since 2003, and every step you have taken has made a difference.

You can continue to make a difference in 2018, too! Register now, and get $20 off your registration through February 5th!

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One amazing fact is that in the last 12 years, Komen has been able to put 80 cents of every dollar directly into research, community health programs, as well as education and advocacy programs. This money supports the mission to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research.

This means that every donation makes a huge impact. Some stats to know and share:

  • $25 could buy research supplies so scientists can work toward finding the cures
  • $30 could provide an hour of patient navigation services for someone with breast cancer
  • $135 could provide one screening mammogram for someone in need

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The sixty miles you walk also make a huge difference! Since 2003, the 3-Day has:

  • Raised more than $820 million in total
  • Helped support more than 2,500 research projects & 460 clinical trials and counting
  • Sent $650 million in funds raised directly to breast cancer research

In addition, Komen’s network of Affiliates fund nearly 1,000 community organizations providing education, screening, patient navigation and treatment assistance to those facing breast cancer each year. You might have seen some of these local Affiliates at cheering stations on 3-Days this year. If you see them in 2018, give them a hug and a high five to thank them for all the amazing hard work they do!

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Because of the hard work that Komen, the 3-Day and all our Affiliates do, there has been a 38 percent decline in breast cancer mortality (deaths) in the U.S. between 1989-2014.

This means that there are more and more survivors for us to honor each year at the 3-Day. In fact, there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.

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Each of these facts are important, and all of them work towards Komen’s Bold Goal of reducing the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50% in the U.S. by 2026.

To learn even more, visit our website for infographics, personal stories and more!

Susan G. Komen 3-Day Fundraising Dollars: See Your Impact Locally with Our Infographics

In 2016 Susan G. Komen announced a Bold Goal to reduce the number of current breast cancer deaths in the United States by 50% by the year 2026. That means that each dollar raised, and each step walked in the 3-Day is working towards that Bold Goal.

Dollars raised by 3-Day participants also go towards funding local research grants community health programs. This year, Komen announced $30.7 million in research funding for 98 research grants nationwide, which will predominantly focus on discovering new treatments, as well as improving our understanding of the most lethal forms of breast cancer. These grants and research are critical in helping us move closer to achieving Komen’s Bold Goal.

To fully understand your direct impact in our work, Komen released the direct impact that local research dollars has in all our local 3-Day markets. Last year, fundraising dollars contributed to the  160 total research grants in the state of Pennsylvania, and funded 186 career investigators in California.

To see the direct impact of the 3-Day in 2017, and all your hard work, look up your home state in the infographics below. These are also great informational resources to share with potential donors, or to send to donors from this year’s walks to show them just how much their support means.

Michigan

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Minnesota

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Pennsylvania

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Washington

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Georgia

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Texas

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California

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How have you seen fundraising dollars at work in your local market? Tell us in the comments!

From Sidewalks to Science: An On-Route Look at Komen’s Research with Dr. Alana Welm

Day 1 of the Susan G. Komen 3day walk in Novi, Michigan on August 4, 2017.

Opening Ceremonies

Dr. Welm, can you tell us a bit about what led you to do breast cancer research?

Although I do not have a family history of breast cancer, cancer has greatly affected my family. I work closely with many patient advocates in breast cancer research, and have seen far too many succumb to breast cancer. As our population ages, I believe that cancer will surpass heart disease as the leading killer. Since breast cancer is the most common deadly cancer in women, I am extremely motivated to make a difference toward eliminating this disease that affects so many.

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On the Route

Since we’ve got some time, could you tell us a bit about your current research?

So far, our most important findings are centered on understanding how metastatic (or Stage IV) tumors arise, and the role the cells around the tumor play in regulating that process. We discovered that the RON kinase protein regulates metastasis and makes it easier for metastatic tumors to grow. We’ve shown that RON kinase inhibitors can block this process and reduce metastasis. We are now launching a new clinical trial to test a RON kinase inhibitor in breast cancer patients with bone metastasis, and we hope this study will help to determine the potential effectiveness of this drug in preventing and treating breast cancer metastasis.

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At Camp

Now that we’ve made it “home” for the night and are enjoying the support of our crew, can you tell us about how your work would be affected without Komen funding?

I was very lucky to be the recipient of a Komen postdoctoral fellowship when I was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, which launched my independent career. The findings from that work led to my current faculty position, which I started 10 years ago. As a young principal investigator, I received a Komen Career Catalyst Award and, more recently, the Komen Leadership Award as a Komen Scholar. Several of my postdocs have received Komen fellowships as well and continued their careers in breast cancer. Without Komen funding, it’s hard to imagine what my lab would be doing now!

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Day 2

What would to somebody who’s just been diagnosed with breast cancer?

Keep the hope. Our understanding of this complicated disease has grown immensely and has led to new approaches, like immunotherapy, that might work even on very complex tumors for which we do not have current therapeutic approaches. Also, get involved! Involvement of patient advocates really does change the landscape of research in ways that can impact everything from research project funding to how clinical trials are conducted.

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Cheering Station

Look at all of these enthusiastic supporters out along the route! How has working with patient advocates impacted your research from a patient perspective?

I have had patient advocates ask questions that have really challenged the “why” to what we planned to investigate. There are many research questions that are very scientifically interesting and important, but would not change patient care in the foreseeable future. Also, spending time in the clinic has made me realize the limitations of what can be done, and I’ve learned to prioritize our research efforts toward directions that can be practically executed in the clinic. Now, our lab is balanced between finding new discoveries that could eventually make a difference, and those that could make a difference now.

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Mile 59

The finish line is in sight! Can you tell us about a defining moment for you when you realized the impact our work has in the fight against breast cancer?

We are about to open a Phase Ib clinical trial, which is based on our work in bone metastasis, which all started when I was a Komen postdoctoral fellow. It has taken 15 years of research in this new area, but we are excited to see the results, and what they could mean for women living with bone metastases. This would be a huge step in treating metastatic breast cancer, and making a significant impact in the lives of patients.

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Closing Ceremonies

Thanks for walking us through your research, Dr. Welm! Any final thoughts you’d like to share with our walkers, crew and supporters?

My lab has been funded by Komen for many years, including several fellowships for my postdocs and we have published Komen-funded research in journals. None of these advancements would be possible without the support of Komen fundraisers, like the 3-Day participants.

Dr. Alana Welm is an Associate Professor at the University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute and has been a Komen Scholar since 2016. Since 1982, Susan G. Komen has funded more than $956 million in breast cancer research, second only to the U.S. government and more than any other nonprofit in the world. Learn more here.

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Pit Stop

Two things to know about Dr. Welm:

  1. To clear my head, I like to trail run or go fly fishing. Both of these activities force me to stop thinking about the lab for a while and push the “reset” button.
  2. My husband, Bryan Welm, also runs a breast cancer research lab. We have two children (ages 13 and 11), and live in Park City, Utah. They are well versed in breast cancer from conversations at our dinner table!

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Grab and Go

Here are three ways you can use this information to help reach your 3-Day fundraising or recruiting goals:

  1. Breast cancer is the most common deadly cancer in women, so every step is a crucial one in the fight for a cure.
  2. Many research labs, postdoc fellowships and clinical trials are done thanks to Komen-funded research. None of the advancements that resulted from this work would be possible without the support of Susan G. Komen fundraisers, like the 3-Day.
  3. Since 1982, Susan G. Komen has funded $920 million in breast cancer research, second only to the U.S. government and more than any other nonprofit in the world. Your dollars are being put to real use!

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Sample Tweet:

Take an On-Route Look at @SusanGKomen’s Research in our latest “Sidewalks to Science” chat with Dr. Alana Welm (link) #The3Day

Sample Facebook Post:

Take an On-Route Look at @SusanGKomen’s Research in our latest “Sidewalks to Science” chat with Dr. Alana Welm! She, and other researchers and scientific advocates, are making great strides in cancer research, especially in regards to metastatic breast cancer. (link) #The3Day