Cancer assassins. That’s how Julie Clark, creator of Baby Einstein and speaker at this year’s Women’s Event, described the breast cancer team at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.
On October 6, Clark, along with more than 150 others, came together at Mile High Station to support female cancer research.
The night started with Kim Christiansen, anchor from 9News, welcoming the guests. Virginia Borges, MD, director of the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Translational Program and the Robert F. and Patricia Young Connor Endowed Chair in Young Women’s Breast Cancer Research, then took the stage to explain the importance of the event and the critical impact it has on research. Next, Julie Clark shared her emotional and inspiring story about her own battle with breast cancer.
Julie is a two-time breast cancer survivor. At the young age of 37 she beat her initial diagnosis, but her cancer returned with a vengeance just four years later. This time, her diagnosis was worse. Her cancer had spread to her liver and she was told to ‘get her affairs together’.
“My ultimate fear was that my two young daughters would have to grow up without their mommy,” Julie said. “I think this is what makes breast cancer so hard. It takes mommies away from their children. It takes sisters, daughters and wives.”
Under the care of Borges, Julie started an intense treatment plan that ended with a scan marked “unremarkable.” The tumors that had spread to her liver were gone.
“Dr. Borges was so optimistic throughout the entire process. She never once told me to ‘get my affairs together’,” said Julie. “Because of her I created a new word, ‘oncotimistic’, the combination of oncologist and optimistic.”
The Women’s Event brought together physician scientists, patients, and philanthropists to move the needle in cancer care, and was made possible by incredible sponsors including Sherman & Howard, L.L.C. and the Regis Breast Cancer Foundation.
“The Sherman & Howard Women’s Initiative is proud to be the supporting sponsor of the Women’s Event. One of our members, Kathy Odle Kortz, first presented the sponsorship idea to us several years ago and the firm has been a repeating sponsor of the Women’s Event since then,” says Hilary Murphy, from Sherman & Howard. “The firm’s Women’s Initiative was excited to support a cause that has affected each of us in some way, whether having loved ones who have battled cancer or having been diagnosed ourselves. Cancer diagnosis and treatment are so critical and we are proud to support the CU Cancer Center and its mission to make inroads against the disease through research, clinical trials, prevention and cancer control.”
Because of the toll cancer has had on employees, Sherman & Howard feels very strongly about sponsoring the event.
“Like any large employer, cancer frequently has hit Sherman & Howard’s employees and their families, and we are intimately familiar with the difficulties that come with a cancer diagnosis,” Murphy says. “Several members of our Women’s Initiative and their families have battled cancer in the past few years. We are proud to have a world-class cancer center right in our backyard and we support the CU Cancer Center’s cutting edge research and excellent care providers, so that the entire Sherman & Howard family can look forward to a day when cancer is no more.”
The Regis Breast Cancer Foundation also contributed as a title sponsor to the Women’s Event. “We are thrilled to sponsor the event because we know the funds we raise will help move the needle on research and treatment programs for women’s cancers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center,” says Brenda Hayes from the Regis Breast Cancer Foundation.
Through the event, more than $60,000 dollars was raised to support female cancer research. Grants from the National Institutes of Health or other major governmental sources are typically used to move forward projects that have already demonstrated significant promise. But how do researchers demonstrate this promise in the first place? Increasingly, grants like these from the Women’s Event and philanthropic support are used to fund the most innovative, new ideas that could lead to tomorrow’s treatments against cancer.
“I am overjoyed,” said Borges. “The funds raised from events like this are helping us beat these horrible diseases. I, along with all of the doctors working on female cancers, could not be more appreciative.”