When my late husband John and I started the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) in 2005, our goal was not only to raise awareness about bladder cancer, but to change the landscape for this disease by funding research to discover new treatments that will save lives.
All of us in the BCAN community should be so proud to share in the recognition that with this week’s announcement of the grant of the 2014 Bladder Cancer Research Innovation Award to Dr. William Kim
, BCAN has now invested ONE MILLION DOLLARS to directly fund bladder cancer research!
This is an extraordinary achievement for our community, resulting from the contributions of so many people. We are ever grateful for the generosity of the donors to our research programs. Special thanks go out to the Raymond and Maria Floyd Family Foundation, who provided the funding for our initial Bladder Cancer Research Award in 2010; to Gerald McNamara and Renée Petrofes for their generous $250,000 Challenge Grant in 2012 to launch our Young Investigator Awards program; to the James Family Foundation for their generous support of the 2013 Young Investigator Award and the 2014 Bladder Cancer Research Innovation Award; and to The JPB Foundation for their support of the 2014 Young Investigator Awards.
The responses we have received to our requests for research proposals have been overwhelming, and clearly demonstrate that there is a strong interest in bladder cancer research. This year, BCAN received 74 Letters of Intent for the one Bladder Cancer Research Innovation Award. We received 32 applications for three Young Investigator Awards. These projects came from outstanding physicians and scientists at academic institutions all around the U.S. and Canada.
BCAN is extremely fortunate to have an exceptional group of experts who volunteer their time and expertise to serve on the Scientific Review Groups (SRG) for each of these award programs, ensuring that the “best and brightest” research will be funded. Many thanks to each of members of the SRGs, with special thanks to Dr. Matt Milowsky, chair of the SRG for our Young Investigator Awards, and Dr. David McConkey, chair of the SRG for our Innovation Award.
ONE MILLION DOLLARS—but we are not stopping now.
With improved understanding of cancer biology, the promise of personalized medicine, and advancements in immunotherapy, the opportunities for transformational advancements in bladder cancer treatments are real. As our experience demonstrates, “If you fund it, they will come!” We will continue to raise monies to support our awards programs and attract dedicated investigators to invest their expertise in improving the lives of bladder cancer patients everywhere. We are well on our way for 2015. Mary Gushée and the Palm Beach Shop & Stroll committee generously raised $100,000 to fund a Young Investigator Award in honor of Stephen Hale Gushée. Together, we are BCAN—leading the way to awareness and a cure!
Diane Quale is the president and cofounder of the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network.