Opportunities for Advocacy: Breast Cancer Research Advocacy 101 Workshop

Guest Writer: Lorry Blath, Komen St. Louis Volunteer

In a conference room usually used for professional breast cancer education and collaboration, an eager group of survivors and supporters gathered for a light breakfast. Judy Johnson and Lorry Blath, co-chairs of the 2015 Research Advocacy 101 workshop and the Susan G. Komen® St. Louis Research Advocacy Committee, opened the workshop with an overview of research advocacy, what activities the committee members have participated in…and by the end of the day, the workshop attendees were asking how they could contribute to advocacy.

As the three diverse speakers made their presentations, the variety of opportunities for advocacy became evident.

Judy Johnson and Lindsey Reichle at the Breast Cancer Research Advocacy 101 workshop

Judy Johnson and Lindsey Reichle at the Breast Cancer Research Advocacy 101 workshop

The first speaker, Lindsey Reichle a clinical research supervisor, explained the seven necessary elements in every clinical trial, fielded questions and stated, “Clinical trials advance medicine and research….and can change the standard of care.”

Our next speaker, dedicated Komen St. Louis Pink Tie Guy Dr. Ron Bose, oncologist/researcher, described the three basic subtypes of breast cancer and which treatments work best with each diagnosis and why. He also discussed recent findings in genomics and how it applies to daily practice of medicine. The attendees’ questions showed great understanding of his material.


Research Advocacy 101 workshop

After lunch, we heard from the dynamic and inspirational Dr. Sheila Stewart, PhD, whose work focuses on metastatic breast cancer to the bones. Her colorful metaphors showed why cancer cells find the bone inviting and how the cells convince the local environment into helping them survive. “These renegade cancer cells are like heroin addicts, and when you hang out with addicts you become one yourself,” she said. “The stroma surrounding the bone is like the girders that support a building.”

Two graduate students guided the group through different parts of Dr. Stewart’s lab. We peered into microscopes of cells lit up by fluorescent stains from jellyfish. We watched electric currents move DNA, called gel electrophoresis. And we viewed the damage of cancer and/or chemotherapy to the bone in 3-D on a computer.

Research Advocacy 101 workshop

Research Advocacy 101 workshop

From the beginning of the workshop, one of our themes was “Different Faces, Same Passion,” and by the conclusion, the attendees were enthusiastically determining how they could become involved to help advance breast cancer research.

Judy are Lorry are dedicated to mentoring these individuals and others who want to become involved in breast cancer research advocacy — a lot or a little.

For more information on the Komen St. Louis Research Advocacy Committee, email us at researchadvocacy@komenstlouis.org, and we will let you know of our latest speaker, meeting, field trip or educational event.

Learn more by visiting the Komen St. Louis Research Advocacy web page.

Fundraising for Komen St. Louis: A Shoe Line with a Purpose

Susan G. Komen® St. Louis is honored to be contacted by passionate members of our community wanting to organize an event or promotion benefiting Komen St. Louis and the fight against breast cancer.

We love the creative ideas our community members come up with to help make an impact and support our mission.

Here’s a particularly creative third-party fundraising promotion: LaQuist + Komen St. Louis shoes.  St. Louis artist and student Lauren Rundquist has created a shoe line with a purpose. With each pair of LaQuist + Komen St. Louis shoes purchased, LaQuist will contribute $15 directly toward Komen St. Louis’ mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever, in addition to being matched by the TOMS One for One Movement, giving a pair of shoes to a child in need. Each of the 12 handpainted designs represents that mission through words and symbols chosen by Susan G. Komen St. Louis.

To learn more about this and other community events supporting Komen St. Louis, visit the Community Events page on our website.

To learn more about hosting a fundraiser for Komen St. Louis, visit our website.

Must-See TV: “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies”

Emperor of All Maladies Event Cover PhotoThe documentary series, “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” is set to air on PBS over three nights, March 30 – April 1.

This three-part, six-hour major television event is presented by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, in partnership with WETA, the flagship public broadcasting station in Washington, D.C.

Based on the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” by Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., the series is the most comprehensive documentary on a single disease ever made. The film weaves a sweeping historical narrative with intimate stories of patients and an investigation into the latest scientific breakthroughs.

This “biography” of cancer covers the disease’s first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the 20th century to cure, control and conquer it, to a radical new understanding of its essence. The series also features the current status of cancer knowledge and treatment —the dawn of an era in which cancer may become a chronic or curable illness rather than its historic death sentence in some forms.

Learn more in this trailer: http://bit.ly/17OL1S2

Be sure to watch “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies” on PBS (KETC in the St. Louis area) at 8 pm Central Time on March 30, March 31 and April 1.

Follow along with Komen St. Louis on Facebook and Twitter as we share information on the history of breast cancer. Join the “virtual watch party” on March 30-April 1, and let us know your thoughts about the film.